Foster carers play a huge part in getting transitions right for foster children but it’s no easy task- I have to work hard at developing a good relationship by building a trust and establishing good communication with them before they will open up about their views and wishes- as so many people have let them down already.
At Hannah’s Looked after Child review today; I was really miffed because it felt as if my opinion was not valid –‘Hannah has lived with me for the past 3 years and I couldn’t possibly know her’! I am part of the professional team, to her, I am her Foster parent, and what was Hannah thinking hearing such negativity at her review.
Why was the conversation just focused on the negatives- yes, she is a slow learner -but a different thinking one, as I sat listening I knew I had to have a voice, turn this meeting into a positive one, from cannot do because of her difficulties, to can do, and identify disabling barriers which could be problem solved in the long term.
Any transitions for Hannah require more detailed planning because of the barriers she faces than that of her peers. Hannah is dependent on the adults around her to support her and I will continue to push to get the best for her.
I am concerned for her future wellbeing as there are so many issues to think about, such as keeping her safe from harm as she is too trusting of children and adults and believes everything she is told, so she is particularly vulnerable.
Let’s consider her Sex and sexuality – I want them to think about Hannah functioning at a lower age; she will have the same sexual feelings as others of her chronological age- she will still go through puberty.-Thinking about appropriate relationships and Personal interactions, supported to have positive, healthy, informed and safe relationships and talking about consensual sex. Other wider issues, personal care and keeping her safe on line.
It can’t just happen at a LAC review, twice a year, of course we discuss those issues regularly but she also needs a relationship with her Social worker too, they need to know her and find the many positives she has but how can they when it seems Social workers can’t spend quality time on visits anymore instead they have a check list to tick boxes. Hannah is black or white in thinking and responds well to straight factual talking. If we don’t get this right it can result in a lack of information and inappropriate advice, creating confusion. I am her advocate and I support her views and choices at every stage- it’s her life she has a voice.
My thoughts are – recognising that transition is a process, rather than a series of assessments and reviews and the need to build on the young person’s strengths to strengths in a targeted, proactive and focused way.
Emma a Foster Carer’s Blog – I Love What I Do!