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Donna and Brendanís story

Test Case Study

Donna and Brendan had considered fostering for some time before taking their first steps on the road to becoming foster parents. Donna had taught in an inner-city school for a number of years and Brendan was a taxi driver. Their two sons were now adults and lived independently nearby.

The couple felt that they were ready for a new challenge and wanted to give something back. They had thought about fostering over the years and, with their sons’ bedrooms now vacated but still wanting the joy of children in their home, this seemed like the right time to start. 

They spoke to their sons, who were fully supportive of their decision, and so the assessment process began. Brendan’s sister and her husband had recently been approved as foster parents and were caring for a young girl with a disability. They were able to guide Donna and Brendan through the process and encouraged them every step of the way.

Within 6 months of beginning their application to foster, they were called to the panel and given the happy news that they had been approved. Donna said “We felt elated when we were finally approved as the process took some time.  We found aspects of it intrusive but understood that this was necessary as we would be caring for vulnerable children. ”

In late 2014, just a few short weeks after their approval was confirmed, the couple began to care for a sibling group of four children – three boys and a girl ranging in age from four to nine years at the time.  Recalling their arrival at the house, Brendan said “The children arrived on a Friday evening and it was a bit of a whirlwind.  There was an immediate change to our routines but our sense of humour got us through”

Over time, it became apparent that all four children have a complex level of need due to years of neglect whilst they were with their mother who has mental health problems.  Donna and Brendan were initially frustrated by what they considered to be the lack of progress for the children. But they realised that, although progress was slow, the children were beginning to take solid, positive steps in their development whilst in their care.  Being in a safe, secure and stable home allowed them to catch up on development that they had missed in the past.  The health of all of the four children has improved and the youngest child is now out of nappies and no longer using a bottle.   

Donna and Brendan work well together as a team and have a good sense of humour, which helps them face any challenges that arise.  The children have settled in well, and Donna and Brendan are proud of the steps they have taken together. They remain committed and enthusiastic and are excited about their future as their fostering journey continues.  Donna said ‘’I would advise people who are new to fostering to play it by ear at first and learn to adapt to the challenges.  Also to source all the information and support that you can for yourself and the children placed with you.’’     

Note: For confidentiality, names have been changed & pictures are posed by models in this case study.

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