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More Football Blog

Fosterman’s Fostering Blog.

The Social Worker called me at 9:05am for a catch up on what had been said by James (name changed). She was aware of some of what had been said from previous conversations with James but there were other parts which were new to her.

With the current situation it was unlikely that Mum would be going to rehab any time soon and her current behaviour was ‘inconsistent’ to say the least. Mum had been warned about not contacting James or the house for any reason but wasn’t adhering to the requests.

It was hard to know what the best policy was, moving forward, other than to just deal with each situation as it arose and to shield James from as much of it as possible.

Blogging and Caring for James.

The days seem to be merging into one. There are so many articles in the press about the effects that lockdown is having on the mental health of young people.

I suppose I am luckier that some because my job is to care for James and I work from home. James was staying in contact with his friends, Paige and school via Zoom meetings and I hoped that would alleviate any boredom or lack of face to face contact. I was also trying to keep him occupied by taking him out for exercise and getting him to help with chores.

I had shown him how to use the washing machine and he already knew how to use the kitchen appliances. I had already talked to him about practical issues such as household finances, owning a car as well as working for an employer. 

When I was a young man at school we used to be taught these things. We had a subject called Commerce which taught us about all sorts of different financial matters, we also had Car Maintenance which showed us the basic of looking after a car.

Ok we also learnt Latin, which I have never ever used in any form, but we had practical lessons to teach us about adult life.I’m not sure that these types of subjects are taught anymore, but they should be.

I decided to get the weights out of the garage, to use in the garden, to try to keep fit. I did some exercises while James was doing his school work and, when he had finished, he came and joined me.

I showed him basic weight exercises and we decided to make it part of our daily routine. For some reason he drew the line at Yoga! I had tried Yoga, on lockdown, to try and keep fit and used a YouTube video to learn as many moves as possible.

I showed these moves to James and, of course, he could do them easily because he was young and supple, not middle aged and full of creaking joints. I was looking at joining this Peloton exercise thing that’s advertised on the TV but once I saw the price I decided not to.

So new daytime routine is: up at 8am, breakfast, schoolwork, lunch at 1230, exercise, school work, walk and then chores and dinner. Evenings, at present, consists of football and more football. All looks good to me.

Fosterman – A Blogging Foster Carer.

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Disclosure Blog

My Fostering Blog.

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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Maths Geek Blog

Fostering Blog.

Yesterday James (name changed) came to me with some Maths homework that he couldn’t get his ear around. Frankly I sat there for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what on earth any of it meant.

Fortunately one of my sons was a bit of a Maths geek so we ‘Zoomed’ him and he explained, for about 10 minutes, what it all meant. I left them to it while I pottered about doing other things. I then heard James in hysterical laughter and walked in only to find them taking the micky out of yours truly for my lack of Maths knowledge.

The rest of the day was spent between James doing his work and me doing an online training course on Food and Hygiene.

James had finished his work so he came in to see what my course was about. We both actually learnt a great deal from it.

I realised that I needed to buy lots of things for the kitchen, such as different coloured chopping boards, in order to make my kitchen more hygienic. So after I finished my course I sat on Amazon and bought a few bits, as recommended by the course. After that we cooked dinner and sat and ate.

We talked about education. James’ mum was of the opinion that education was important, which had been hugely beneficial to him.

I remember working with one child whose mum had said that you could learn more off the telly than in a classroom and the young person believed that and was a nightmare to get into school. But I had no issue with James and his education and I knew I was very lucky with that.

After we had eaten and cleared away we say and watched football (what else?) and James went off to bed about 10pm while I updated my blog and diary for the day.

The following day got off to a strange start when both mine, and James’, phone took turns in ringing from a withheld number. We both chose to ignore it but never actually said why. This carried on until mid-morning and James actually switched his off in the end. At lunchtime it stopped and James switched his back on to find a message.

It was Mum, who sounded high as a kite, begging James to send her some money or take something of value from the house that could be sold. Once again, in the background, there was a male voice telling her what to say.

James rolled his eyes but I could see that the call had upset him and he went into the dining to carry on with his school work. I sent an email to his Social Worker and, surprisingly, she called back shortly afterwards. She had, also, received calls from Mum asking for money and had referred her to DWP.

Mum had become very abusive as had the man in the background. She had disconnected the call and told her manager about it.

I felt sorry for the Social Worker as she had organised rehab for Mum but it had been postponed due to COVID. I had a feeling we were going to be in for a sticky few days.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.