Capstone Foster Care News

Fostering a child can be both emotionally rewarding and demanding. What’s surprising is that increasingly it’s older carers who are rising to the challenge.

You’d think they’d be past school pick-ups, wiping snotty noses and dealing with adolescent hang-ups, but the fostering of children in the UK is almost entirely in the hands of older people. Some 64% of foster parents are 50-plus; another 29% between 41 and 50, according to SAGA.

They can get tremendous satisfaction from feeling that they’re still useful to the younger generation and can transform a troubled youngster’s life. ‘They tend to be less anxious and allow a child to be a child,’ says Steven Stockley of advice service Fosterline.

There are about 83,000 children in care, with 69,000 of those in foster homes. Demand for places is outstripping supply, so the focus on attracting older foster parents is stronger than ever although, as Steven Stockley points out, adult offspring are staying at home longer, meaning a spare room isn’t available until later.

Our very own Tony Harrison, 63, and his wife Diane, 59, recently spoke to SAGA about their experience of fostering despite being older carers. They have incredibly fostered 50 children and taken 40 for short respite breaks since 2004. Tony is an NHS manager and Diane was a carer. They live in the Thames Valley and have three children and two grandchildren. They currently foster two siblings, aged six and eight, and another one-year-old baby.

Diane recalls one of her daughters saying she was put on this Earth to ‘look after children’ but Diane didn’t think she was ‘clever enough’ to foster. However, husband Tony believed that fostering came natural to Diane as she actually had all the skills necessary and was able to grow in confidence. They want to make a small difference to a child’s life and show them alternative ways of living. As a family they discuss each child they’re asked to take and decide if they can meet their needs and add to their life.

Tony said “I love the company of children and teaching them skills like bark rubbing, putting hooks on lines for fishing, tying knots, things they’ve never tried. It helps to form a bond, and creates trust and empathy.”

Tony and Diane never thought they were too old to foster. They admitted they know people older than them now who are fostering. “It’s about fitness and the willingness to get out and do things. We’re nurturers. I do the night shifts and feeds, and Diane organises the house and daytime activities. It’s lovely to be up with the baby at 5am, making a bottle and having a cuddle and a chat.” said Tony.

You can read the full interview, here.

On Tuesday 2nd October, our Dartford team in the South East attended a team volunteering day at Bexley Foodbank.

Sandy Birha, Team Manager, was able to arrange the day in partnership with Gillian Bates who is responsible for the overseeing of Bexley Foodbank. Sandy was keen to make a positive difference to more children and younger and their families.

Gillian told Sandy that the bank was never short of volunteers for the face to face service of providing the food parcels to individuals and families that attend the centres however, they did not have many volunteers who could help out by sorting out the food held in a storage unit.

The day was full of heavy lifting and sorting through donated food to arrange by date.

The whole team pulled together to work on the pasta, cereal and tinned meat that would help families between now and July 2019. Whilst having anything is appreciated it was noted that the food bank would be grateful for more long-life milk and juice.


On Sunday 30th September, our Children & Young People’s and Education Champion, Lisa Sandy took part in a sponsored walk to raise money for Diabetes UK. Here is what she has to say:

“My daughter and I headed to Battersea Park to begin the “London Bridges Challenge” to raise money for Diabetes UK.

So for three hours on a sunny autumn day, my daughter and I took in the sights of London, walking ten miles over twelve bridges, starting at Battersea Bridge and finishing at Tower Bridge, where we received our medals. We raised just under £200 for the charity that helps support people with diabetes, as well as researching treatments for sufferers.

We had a great time, met some amazing people who are suffering with diabetes and even bumped into an old friend on London Bridge, it’s a small world!” Lisa Sandy (Children & Young People’s and Education Champion)

On behalf of everyone at Capstone, we’d like to congratulate Lisa and her daughter for their amazing efforts to raise money for such a good cause.



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