Dealing with complaints can be worrying and frustrating in equal measures. Sometimes you will be angry at the sheer audacity of the person making the complaint, sometimes you will be upset.
Most Foster carers will receive a complaint at some stage in their Fostering career. Complaints from a placement can be caused by the young person not getting their own way on something whereas complaints from parents tend to be out of frustration at you providing their child with a level of care that they cannot offer.
Let me give you an example of one that I’ve had from a child. Child T had the hump as he couldn’t get the £120 trainers that he wanted, his trainers only costing £45. Because of this, and with his Mum’s encouragement, he wrote all over his brand new trainers in indelible ink, thinking he would then get the trainers he wanted.
After discussion with the Social Worker, it was agreed that he wouldn’t be bought anymore trainers but would have to carry on wearing the vandalised pair.
As a result of this, and again with his mother’s encouragement he made a complaint against us, stating that he was being fed enough etc. etc. This was so blatantly obvious that, although the Social Worker investigated fully, the complaint was rejected completely.
It later turned out that he didn’t actually want the trainers, his Mum did. The idea being that if he got them he would see his Mum on contact, give them to her and claim to us that he had lost them.
There are all sorts of complaints that you may incur from parents. I can understand the frustration that a parent must feel seeing somebody else looking after their child and being able to provide for their in a way that they, themselves, cannot.
Child R came to us as her Mother had a serious drug issue. She looked very undernourished and pale when she arrived. She soon started to flourish after being properly fed and looked after. Although Mum didn’t have contact with her initially it was decided after a couple of months that she should. Obviously she saw how her daughter looked and was dressed and didn’t like it.
Not long after the contact we were told that Mum had made a complaint stating that her daughter had been smacked. Once again the complaint procedure kicked into place and the Social Worker took the girl out for lunch.
The child obviously stated that she had only been well looked after and that there was no evidence to back up Mum’s claims. The only problem with this was that it totally spoilt any kind of relationship that we’d had with Mum.
So James’ (name changed) Mum had made this complaint against me and the Social Worker was coming to see him.
In the meantime, life went on as per normal. James was happy and contented. He was still getting calls from Mum but was still ignoring them, through his own choice. He was still in contact with his friends from home and had obviously made new friends as well.
I think he was just realising how life could be and that he hadn’t experienced that with Mum.
A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.