Monday’s Foster Carers Blog
Today I had a meeting organised with my independent fostering agency to review our current situation. They had organised an independent social worker (ISW) to join us so that we could look at the current level of support we are receiving from the local authority for the care of Alice. We are about to be matched through the local authority for long term care of Alice, so we want to ensure that we are getting the right support.
The first thing that was clear from the meeting is that Alice is not being looked after by the right team. She is a child with physical disabilities and learning disabilities and she should therefore be under care of Disability team at the local authority. I have queried this a number of times over the last four years with the local authority but have always been told that it was not necessary. The ISW was very surprised to hear that a child with such complex needs – physical, emotional and learning needs was still part of the mainstream looked after team in the local authority.
Not being looked after by the right team has more than likely impacted the level of support we have received. Because she is being considered as a mainstream placement, we have never had help with any of the issues surrounding her disability. We have not been able to access funding for equipment, respite services and other disability services all because she has not been looked after by the right team. The ISW says this needs to be the first thing to be looked at before matching panel.
The meeting then went on to look at other areas like home adaptions and equipment needed to support Alice. Although we don’t need some of these things right now, like lifts, hoists or adapted bathroom and bedroom— it is about future proofing things so that we are able to give her long term care. The ISW wants to make it very clear to the local authority that all these things need to be agreed before matching panel.
We can’t help but feel nervous following the meeting. We know that these are good things to put in place. We don’t want the local authority to feel like we are holding them to ransom at the 11th hour before matching panel, but we know that we do need extra support to look after a child with such complex needs. We have muddled along for over four years, now it’s time to get serious. We are talking about the long term future of a child that they have responsibility for. They too need to look seriously about how they can ensure she is cared for in the best possible way.
A Less Ordinary Family Fostering Blog