Emma’s Fostering Blog.
It’s been a couple of months and I am waiting to welcome another child into our home – its Friday almost 4pm, there is a phone call from the duty Social worker. I’m not excited about this call as she is trying to place children on a Friday, it feels desperate, she is told she has to, and is now under pressure and it’s almost the weekend.
I’m asked to consider a girl of 15 who has broken down many placements, she is now in an IFA but they want to bring her back in house next week, then a boy of 14 who needs a placement immediately as he has assaulted the male carer and he is now in the emergency bed, they need him out by Monday. As I was listening, I immediately felt sad for them, I knew they wouldn’t fit with my family dynamics, I felt guilty as I was unable to make that difference to either of them. However on reflection, if I had said ‘yes’- perhaps as a new Foster carer, the emphasis would have been on my family and the inability to care for those children, not their behaviour, just not having the right skills. Consider the dynamics of the young people here, and the negative effect this may have had on them as in being vulnerable. I know my boundaries, I now feel confident about saying ‘no’.
It’s vital that we plan – Hanna’s move was carefully planned, and handled in an open and honest way, information shared, introductions and visits. Most importantly, I believed in myself, and my family, that we had the ability and skills to help her. Because of this, I knew Hannah could achieve many things. She has excellent care and good support from us, living in a safe place, having positive relationships and opportunities.
Her foster placement is permanent – meaning for Hannah, she doesn’t have to worry. Of course sometimes children move on, for many different reasons, some moves have been really hard on us as Foster carers, especially when we know they need a specialist provision, and with a lack of resources, knowing they may go from placement to placement.
I’m fed up with the stereotyping and the statistics which both add up to one thing: the idea that a looked after child is doomed from the start and I have spent years trying to change the narrative because they are most certainly not a lost cause. The match with a family needs to be emotionally stable, I think this is more important than geography; the actual match with the family is the key piece.
My thoughts are Children just need to be surrounded by loving and caring individuals, who are properly matched in their skill set, who will believe in them and support them. Not rushed decisions on a Friday afternoon, a last minute decision that will almost certainly fail.
Emma – A Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!