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Fostering Blog | Goodbye to Alice

Friday’s Fostering Blog

So I decided it was not a good idea to hold my breath when waiting for Social Services to keep their promises. It was just as well I didn’t, I would have long ago passed out. Last week, we asked Social Services for a crisis meeting, our SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) insisted on the meeting taking place at school so that they could be involved too, along with an offer of respite. We also asked for therapy to start immediately with Alice. After three years of waiting for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) to start therapy – we are quite frankly at our whits end, Alice desperately needs therapy to begin now – not in another 6 months, or year or 3 years.

Well as predicted, nothing has happened during this crisis period. No therapy has started, and there is no sight of therapy starting anytime soon. As for our crisis meeting 9 days after requesting it, did not take place. The manager and student social worker were in fact “too busy” to come and do it could not take place at school. The Director of our fostering agency, along with my supervising social worker went across to meet the manager over at the Local Authority, to try to work a way through this difficult time.

The local authority had promised to arrange a week of respite, but in their usual style they failed to sort it in time. Sometimes social services do not have the resources to help you and sometimes they just do not realise the seriousness of the situation presented to them. Unfortunately in our case we have been left with a student social worker who has been herself left on supervised. We found out on Friday that she finished her placement. She had not let us know that she was leaving and she did not say goodbye to Alice. I’m sure this was an oversight on her part, but we have to ensure that Alice understands that this is not another adult leaving her and that she did nothing wrong.

At the next LAC review I will be giving feedback regarding the behaviour of the student. I will also be making a complaint because I do not think that it is fair to leave an unqualified social worker unsupervised with such a complex child. Furthermore, much damage was done when the student started play therapy, allowing Alice to re-live some of the traumas she had experienced in her early life. This should not have happened, she was not qualified to start this very difficult piece of work, she was not being supervised, and she allowed Alice to re-live trauma in a home that we have made a very safe place. It is little wonder that we have seen so much oppositional behaviour in the last few months.

So taking matters into our own hands we have organised a couple of nights break. We agreed with our fostering agency that Alice could go and stay with some dear friends who have known her for the last four years. My friend is trained in all the medical procedures, so the agency were happy to authorise it. They understand how difficult the last few weeks have been and they know that we just need a break.

Although two nights is not really enough, beggars can’t be chooses and it is better than nothing so we are just grateful for what we can get. We will figure out next week when it comes but for now we will enjoy two nights of peace and two days of quality time to spend with Lauren and Annie.

A Less Ordinary Family Foster Care Blog