I remember at the beginning of my Fostering journey I was nervous about interactions with birth family, but It wasn’t long before I came to realise that it was in the best interest of my foster children, their birth families, and even me to find the positives in their families and to build a relationship with them. I have learned it’s important that foster children see you getting on with their birth family. Hannah has monthly contact and this works well for her and we have built a good working relationship with her family.
How different contact is for Dan, his contact is 4 times a year, both his parents have learning disabilities, they mainly want to speak about themselves seem uninterested about what Dan has been doing- despite intense work done around the contact. It’s hardly a surprise when I say his anxiety comes from unresolved attachment difficulties that seem to be re-enacted during the contact and the stability and sense of family he feels with us.
I dread this contact I feel guilty about him going; it’s so difficult putting him through it as we see a different Dan before and after contact and he has difficulties with communication so is unable to fully explain how he feels about having contact so it comes out in other ways usually in his behaviour. I have been keeping very accurate accounts of changes of behaviour in my diary notes around contacts, at his next Looked after child review this will be the ideal opportunity to explore those concerns further.
Contact depends on the personal experience of the child during the visits and it is essential for them to know their roots and why they came into care as without knowledge of this, it can be very difficult for the children to move forward. Contact can be tricky it needs to be planned; it can take place in your home, contact centre, on social networking sites, by phone, email or letters. Contact may be sometimes supervised by someone else and may change over time and needs to be regularly reviewed.
My role is to advocate on his behalf, I am not alone, I work as part of a team which I am very pleased about because contact is a significant part of Fostering, I have to question with good reason – Is the current upset to Dan manageable in the interests of his longer-term well-being- it’s a tricky one-hopefully in the long term showing empathy for his parents will be kinder for him, he needs to know that it’s okay to care for someone, even if we sometimes need to stay away for our own wellbeing.
My thoughts are- contact should be good quality for the child and about the child, not about the parents; sadly this is not always the case.
Emma a foster carer – I love what I do!
Foster care Blog.