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Alice’s IRO

Alice – Fostering Blog

Thursday.

Talk about needing to count to ten. I think I need to count to a thousand. And this time it’s nothing to do with any of the children. Social workers can be very frustrating. Today’s meeting did not exactly go according to plan. It didn’t help that the local authority social worker was running late, so late that by the time she arrived my agency social worker only had thirty minutes before she had to go to her next appointment. She couldn’t leave any later as she was heading off to a LAC review – it would not go down well if she was late for that. So we had to make a choice of what we were going to tackle today. I decided the most pressing thing to talk about was therapy and life story work. Home assessment and education was unfortunately going to have to wait for another day.

I feel that we expressed how urgent we felt therapy was. Alice’s behaviour is still pretty erratic, and while we have good days, there are many more bad days. There are times when we feel that it is impacting family life. Whilst Lauren and Annie have been hugely supportive, we know it is impacting them too. The truth is, sometimes we feel like we are doing this solo. It feels like social services have failed to remember who the legal parents are and they leave it entirely up to us, yet we do not have parental responsibility nor the rights that go with that. I wonder if it’s because we do such a good job. We have always met Alice’s needs, gone above and beyond. It feels like that has really backfired on us because now we need some help we are not getting it.

Alice’s social worker failed to grasp how serious the situation is. Alice’s emotional needs need to be met as a matter of urgency. There are only so many times we can be fobbed off with excuse after excuse this time we have had enough. As we had got nowhere in our meeting, I decided it was time to call Alice’s Independent reviewing officer (IRO). With the backing of our agency social worker, we decided to call an emergency looked after child review. We have felt for some time that social services have not offered us the support we need as a family, but more than that Alice is not getting the help and support she so desperately needs.

Whilst we understand the pressures that social workers face and the number of cases they are holding, it is now time for action. Alice has waited for over five years to get help with her emotional needs, we need help for her now before it is too late, my worry is it may already be too late.

One of the most frustrating things about being a foster parent is that so often, you feel like your hands are tied behind your back that you are gagged and unable to speak for your foster child. I know if it were our own birth children, by now I would be taking further steps, I would be posting details on social media and I would be contacting my local member of Parliament, but I am unable to do this for my foster child and her needs continue to be left unmet. So we will wait to hear back from the IRO and hope that she can get us the help we all need.

A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog.