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James (name changed) asked if we could talk through some stuff from he lived at home as he wanted to get it off his chest.

What followed was about two hours of very emotional and quite difficult to hear information. I was already aware of some of the things he told me from previous conversations but he filled in the gaps and added some more.

The condition of the house was so bad that all the sinks were full up with all sorts of rubbish and were unusable. The floor was littered with drug paraphernalia. He would come out of his room to find all sorts of strange people lying on the floor. Mum would bring home random men and disappear into her room.

There had also been a time where Mum had to go into hospital for an emergency and had locked James in the property for the three days she was in. Fortunately he had been able to climb out of a window and had to steal milk off of people’s doorsteps.

It sounded a real depressing tale but one that I’d heard on a number of occasions before from other placements. What surprised me was that James and his Mum were known to Social Services but no action was taken previously.

After he had told me all of this he went and had some time to chill out in his room. I wrote some notes in my diary and fired off an email to his Social Worker. I heard a strange noise from James’ room, a kind of wailing, I walked past his door, but fortunately it was just James trying to sing with his headphones on.

As James had finished his school work we went for a short drive to a local park and had a walk round. It was sunny, but cold, and the park was quite busy. We walked for about an hour and then headed back home.

The walk had done us both good and James cleaned the fish tank while I pottered about and answered a few emails. James seemed quite relieved to have got everything out in the open and so I let him cook dinner.

We settled down to watch an evening of football (yes I know) and after the games had finished he took himself off to bed. I sat and reflected on the day and the earlier conversation with James.

Had I handled it ok? It’s easy to interrupt or make comments when a young person is disclosing this type of information but I didn’t.

I let him tell me everything that he wanted to and didn’t interrupt once. I felt happy that he trusted me with such difficult information and wondered if there was anything else that he would tell me.

I wouldn’t press him on anything and let him tell me when he felt able to do so. But, all in all, I hoped that James had felt that I had listened and taken him seriously. I made some plans for the following day and checked for messages and then closed the computer down and hit the sack.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

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