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Football Trial Blog

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Football, football, football, if James (name changed) isn’t watching it then he’s playing it, either on grass, at school or on his PlayStation.

I don’t mind as it keeps him fit and happy and takes his mind off of other issues. Last weekend he had a match on both Saturday and Sunday so no lay ins for me. Fortunately both venues were reasonably local so no great journeys involved.

When my eldest son played Rugby we used to travel the length and breadth of Kent for a Sunday morning game. The Saturday game was quite intense and got a bit ‘niggly’ and I was pleased to see that James never shirked from physical contact and also backed his team mates up. His team won the game convincingly and he was quite hyper after the match.

As we were sorting stuff out after the game a man approached me and asked if I was James’ dad. I quickly explained the situation. The man was a scout for one of the larger non- league teams in the area and asked if James could pop along one evening for a training session as the man had been impressed with James on the pitch.

I asked James and he was delighted and said yes. So he gave us the details and we left. James didn’t shut up for the rest of the day and was very excited about the prospect of a serious training session.

His game on Sunday was a last minute cancellation as the other team only had 8 players so the team had a training session instead. Then it was home and we shared the preparation of a nice big fat roast lamb dinner.

James was still going on about his trial and had told anyone who called. It got a bit much when he started talking about what he was going to wear! The rest of Sunday was spent watching football and sorting things for the week.

He left for school on Monday and I got on with the normal routine of cleaning and tidying. I had a chat with his Social Worker and updated her about the football.

She told me about a conversation she had with Mum who was saying how she was determined to get James back as soon as possible as she ‘knew’ he was unhappy with me and she knew he really wanted to go home soon.

It was actually quite sad as both the Social Worker and I had conversations with James and knew that he was happy and settled at mine. Mum had been reminded that she needed to go through rehab before any chance of getting James back but was seemingly oblivious to the whole situation.

She said that she thought it was unfair that she had to prove herself to Social Services as she had been an excellent parent before.

In a way I could understand what she was saying as James’ behaviour is very good and he was polite and respectful and that he had, at some stage, received some good parenting. Anyway, she had been been told what the plans were and that there was no deviating from that.

Fosterman – A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

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Fostering Blog – Rowdy Teens.

James (name changed) left for school at the normal time and I pondered what to do with my day. Id pretty much done all the housework and the cupboards were full. The fish tank was clean. The washing basket was empty.

So I took myself off to the gym in a desperate attempt to get my aging body into some kind of recognisable shape. Before James came along I had been empty for a short period and enjoyed my time in the gym, in fact it became quite addictive.

I had to find a structure to my days otherwise I wouldn’t get anything achieved. So I would get up, breakfast, shower, chores and then gym. That’s a great thing about Fostering; you suddenly become responsible for the routine of the house and everyone in it.

I was enjoying a cuppa in the garden when I struck up a conversation with my next door neighbour. She had known me for a few years and was aware of the fact that I fostered. She admitted that she was concerned when she found out my profession, expecting rowdy teenagers, Police cars and vandalism. But she had been pleasantly surprised by how everything, and everyone, was managed.

She had taken a shine to James and thought he was a lovely young and loved the fact that he always said hello and smiled at her. She said that he was a credit to me and she liked the fact that he always looked smart. She asked what his story was but I told her that I couldn’t divulge that information.

She went on to say that it was a shame that kids in care had to go back to their parents after having so much ‘positivity’ being in care. I wasn’t too sure about the ‘positivity’ comment but I understood the gist of what she was saying.

A bit later I got to thinking about what she was saying. James came to me due to the neglect he was experiencing at home. He gets to live in a nice home with everything he needs. He is fed, kept warm and clean, has the internet and most importantly for him, Sky Sports. When he goes home he will, almost certainly, not have all of that. Will he then resent me or his Mum?

I worked with a lad called David (name changed). David had been in care for about 5 years. His family home was in East London and he was placed in care in South East London.

When he was too old to remain in care he was provided with a one bedroom flat, some furniture and a financial package.

Now David had learning difficulties and hadn’t really got a chance of gaining full time employment. So he sat indoors all day watching TV. David went from a ‘stocky’ 14 stone to an obese 20 stone in the space of a year.

He had a PA in twice a week for an hour and a Social Worker who appeared to visit about every 6 months. The poor lad didn’t really know who to turn to. So I got involved with him again, in an unofficial basis, and fought his corner.

I made a fuss, loads of phone calls and really kicked off. All of a sudden it all changed and David was given a proper support package. But how many David’s are there who don’t get that support and assistance? I’m guessing loads.

Fosterman – A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

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Prison Release Blog

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With James (name changed) back to school it was time to get back into some kind of meaningful routine again. We had had a busy weekend, James had two football matches, the won both, and we generally made ourselves busy.

So it was nice to have the house to myself for a few hours without an over excited teenager in the house. So I went for a nice walk, did some chores at home, went to the Post Office, got the car washed and then went to the Supermarket. I also took the opportunity to talk to my Supervising Social Worker (SSW) and to James’ Social Worker.

Apparently Mum is out of prison in two weeks and has indicated that she wants to see James on a more regular basis. She is of the opinion that I should take him over to her and that she wants contact just with him and nobody else, not me or a Contact Worker.

I stated that I wasn’t happy with that, based on past experiences, and the Social Worker stated that she had already told Mum that somebody else would be in the room with them. Mum had said that she didn’t want me in the room and claimed that I was turning James against her for my own benefit.

I had experienced this situation before and wasn’t unduly concerned. I understand that it must be difficult for Mum to see her son being provided with things that she couldn’t afford to provide.

James got home and did the small amount of homework he had been set. He asked what I had been doing and I pretty much told him with the exception of the conversation I had had with his Social Worker. I didn’t think it was worth telling him about something that may not happen.

We had dinner and watched football, just for a change, before James said that he was tired and was going have an early night. The following day, after James had left, I tool myself off to the gym. I was only allowed to do 50 minutes in there but it was ‘enjoyable’. I knew I would ache and I was right. I came home, had a shower, and sat in the garden, in the sunshine, and had lunch and a coffee.

I then got a call, from James’ Social Worker, to say that Mum had been granted a place at a rehab centre, courtesy of the Prison Service. There would be a two week gap between Mum being released and the start of her rehab. She had stated that she wanted James back by the summer. I agreed with the Social Worker that we wouldn’t mention anything to James due to the possibility of things not going to plan.

It was a difficult dilemma as James was already talking about the summer holidays and the fact that Paige’s parents had mentioned about taking James with them on holiday. But I said nothing and we would have to see how things panned out.

I’ve been a Foster Carer long enough to know that things can change overnight and to expect the unexpected.

Fosterman – A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.