Having looked after Richard he was three, his foster parents were determined that, when the time came for him to move on, he would live somewhere that not only understood his needs, but that would allow him to feel at home and stay for the foreseeable future.
Richard was fostered by Lesley and Colin at the age of three – originally for a couple of weeks but after Richard was unable to go back to his family, he ended up staying long-term.
Having been diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition and ADHD at the age of seven, he required a great deal of care and attention at all times, and it took three attempts to find him a suitable school.
When the time came to leave school, Richard’s foster parents decided it was time to look at somewhere he could live as an adult but, since the upheaval was likely to be difficult for him, they needed somewhere which would manage the transition from teenager to adult and not move him on again when he got older.
Lesley said: “Richard was getting very big and he still had aggressive tendencies and obsessive behaviour, which we knew would be more difficult to handle as he got older. For example, one of his obsessions is about his personal belongings, and if we ever went out for the day, he would be worried the whole time about whether his things would be OK.
“We started looking at potential homes when he was 16 but we were determined that, if he moved at that stage, it would be to somewhere where he didn’t have to move again when he was 18.
“One day, I spent almost the whole night looking on the internet for residential homes and, after finding several which I thought were suitable, I then realised that all of those homes were run by Choice Care Group.”
The next stage was securing funding for the placement, so after passing Choice Care Group’s details to their social worker, two representatives from Choice Care Group came out to see the family and suggested Rowan Cottage, which was not far from their home and would allow Lesley and Colin to stay in touch with Richard.
After his foster parents visited the home, they were convinced that Rowan Cottage was the right place for him.
Lesley added: “As soon as we saw the home, we liked it immediately – there were people already living there of a similar age and we knew that it was somewhere that Richard would fit in well. We could see that it would meet his needs – he had his own bathroom and his room was right by the lounge and kitchen so that he could keep an eye on his door.
“Richard knew he was going to move anyway, and I think it was a big relief to him once he knew where he was going to go, and that he knew he wouldn’t have to move again. He is now very happy and settled – he has friends his own age, his own space and activities which he can join in if he wants to, but it is always his own choice.
“He is learning skills to become more independent such as doing his own laundry and passing his cycling proficiency test which has been very beneficial for him – he has even been on holiday with them which is something we always found very difficult to arrange.
“The staff there are wonderful – very respectful of service users, very understanding and brilliant at maintaining relationships with us. We still speak to him every day and he visits us regularly.
“I’m so pleased that we found this care home and that everything has worked out so well for Richard.”
*Name changed to protect identity