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Half term can really begin

Fulltime Foster Carer - Harriet author of: A Less Ordinary Family

Half term can really begin

Monday 15th February

Today is the first day of the half term holidays. This can only mean one thing – lazy starts to the day! It helps also that Charlie is home for the week, though he still has work to do, but it can be done around family time.

Despite the lazy starts, we too still have some work to do. Every year, each Looked After Child needs to have a medical. For some reason it was booked for the first morning of half term, and a nurse from the Looked After Team is coming to do the medical. It is to ensure all their health needs are being met, and all appointments are being attended. The first two medicals took place in the community by the health visiting and school nurse teams. Last year our local authority stopped doing these medicals for other local authorities, so we had to take Alice out of school to attend her medical over an hour away. This meant she missed an entire morning of school. Not good, and certainly worse than missing a lazy morning!

A frank discussion with Alice’s new Social Worker resulted in her going away and arranging for the medical to be here at home! I was really impressed that she took the time to listen to my concerns and then was proactive in finding a solution. Social Workers can often get a bad press, and to be honest we have had our fair share of social workers who have been difficult to work with. Our local authority social worker now is fabulous. She just gets on with the job. She does what she says she will do – and often goes the extra mile for us.

The medical went well, fortunately we knew the nurse from last year, so we didn’t have to start from scratch with Alice’s complicated medical history. She got through the assessment fairly quickly then spent a little time asking Alice about her likes and dislikes. I sat there with a poker face while she told the nurse how much she enjoyed going to see her birth parents. We know the exact opposite to be true. Whenever she has contact with them she is anxious and emotional and memories from the past resurface. It certainly isn’t the pleasant event that she makes it out to be.

If I’m honest it feels a little hurtful, but I know that’s not why she’s saying it. She still cannot make sense of her world and why she is in care. She does not understand why her parents couldn’t look after her and didn’t choose to prioritise her needs.

So I take a deep breath and keep smiling. I remind myself (again) of why we are doing what we are doing and the difference that is being made in Alice’s life because she is in our family.

Once the nurse has left it feels like half term can really begin.

A Family Less Ordinary – Blog

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