Emma’s Fostering Blogs are by an experienced foster carer who gives you an honest and revealing insight into the ups and downs of foster care. A great resource for other carers and those interested in becoming carers.

Fostering Blogs

Fostering | Maths

Emma’s fostering blog

Maths

Jack is 15 and it wasn’t long before we figured out that he was struggling with the everyday life concept of maths, and he still uses his fingers to count instead of using more sophisticated strategies.

We have all known that he does not always retain the information he has learned and so maths, money and time are his weakness. Jack has lots missing from his early years, concept of time, times table, the cost or how much change he should get back. I won’t always be here to help him and I want to teach him budgeting skills as one day he will be independent.

Jack has his pocket money, lunch and clothing money paid weekly into his bank account, he also has a direct debit going out for a magazine he is collecting. He has online banking to keep an eye on what he is spending, we managed to convince him to not have a contactless card because this was causing problems, however he still manages to spend his money too quickly which leaves him with nothing for the rest of the week.

It was my birthday, Jack loves celebrating any special occasions and always buys me such lovely cards and the words are just beautiful. This year he asked what I would like, I explained a card would be nice and perhaps just a token gift, not to spend money that he hasn’t got.

When I opened my present there was a beautiful candle in a jar, what a nice gesture, however I knew this wasn’t cheap. I saw this exact candle when I was out and as I thought it cost a lot. The next day Jack told me he hadn’t any money in his account and seemed surprised by this, but on further investigation he had spent all of his money on me.

After discussing the lovely but rather expensive present I ended up bailing him out and so I ended up paying for my own present.  He really struggles and we have many  issues we have to help him with; spending on online gaming, getting in debt because he has signed up to a trial, but forgotten to cancel it after the period is up and so money comes out.

On Monday Jack told me his money had not gone into his account so he didn’t have any, I thought it odd, but paid the amount in for him, but money did go in later that day; he ended up spending that money and the other money too.

My thoughts are occasionally we have to be that tough parent, he can make mistakes while he is in a safe place; he owed the money and now in debt he had to pay it back. If he was in his own place he would have been in trouble, no one to bail him out and so how would he manage with no money.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Managers and directors

Emma’s fostering blog

Managers and directors

In the news and all over social media fostering is being discussed, and it’s about time.

I’m pleased about this, I have been an active foster carer for many years and seen many changes to the service, but for foster carers we just see more and more put on us. The expectations of policy and the high turnover of staff, and we just carry on the best we can.

I think it is important to recognise that there are many good social workers and managers out there who do have the foster carers and children’s best interests at heart. The main problems are that foster carers don’t have a transportable form F, an independent complaints procedure, workers’ rights or benefits.

For many years the system has abused our vulnerability and lack of employment status and now foster carers are fighting back and have joined IWGB union, as they are fighting for exactly this. Fostering needs to be about a mutually beneficial working environment between all parties and not alienating us from the people best placed to support us.

We need to get to the point where Local Authority and Independent Fostering agencies recognise the benefits to the quality of the service; carer retention, and that poor practice and bullying are not acceptable, as in any other work. If this was the case I don’t believe we would see so many superb social workers and carers leaving because they are unhappy about how things are, and it would be easier to recruit new foster carers, as we know happy foster carers spread the word.

The foster care system is under significant pressure, some of the most vulnerable young people in society are being failed by a system which doesn’t meet their needs, foster children currently face a lottery of care, the prospect of frequent moves from one home to another and even of separation from their siblings.

Services that foster carers could once tap into have all gone.

I think we all agree the system needs more money but until the government act on this, we have to carry on with what we have for the sake of the children. There are things that can be done now to ease the burden on foster carers; by having managers and directors who care and remember why they came into the job in the first place, and who want to make a difference to their work force under very difficult times.

Person centred, who actually have listening skills and give support and value their staff, so they can support the many professional foster carers who do an incredibly difficult but rewarding job.

My thoughts are Foster carers are providing an invaluable service for thousands of young people, but sadly we are not getting enough support. I want to be recognised and respected as a professional foster carer with safeguards and get on with doing the job I love.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Human Beings

Emma’s Fostering Blog

Human beings

It has been a particularly stressful week, visiting School almost on a daily basis and last night George had another meltdown, which resulted in him jumping on and breaking his bed.

As usual I can’t get hold of his Social worker. I had a call yesterday from a foster carer who was really upset as the young person she was caring for, she trashed her front room and completely went mad, and attacking her in the process, the Social worker immediately removed the child without consulting her and didn’t bother to ask how she felt.

She was worried about the ending as this young person had lived with her for over a year; she felt despite raising issues on a few occasions they had failed to address the boy’s behavioural problems or to provide her with appropriate support.

When she asked if it would be possible to see him she was told it could be unsettling and potentially unhelpful to the new fostering placement. It makes no sense that fostered children are treated differently, and their relationships are persistently broken when they are moved to new carers.

I had an unannounced visit from the FSW today, she seemed rather annoyed when I expressed how I felt about the way carers are treated in general; not properly supported or the fact that when a room is trashed we redecorate, replace items and often the cost of this is on us.

At the end of the visit I felt she had shrugged off a lot of the issues I raised, I would have preferred her just to have supported me in how I felt, even just listened, and acknowledged the difficulties rather than trying to defend the system.

I know what it’s like looking after a child for a period of time, you celebrate their successes, you are a shoulder to cry on and you watch them grow up. They become a big part of your family and however it ends, it’s a massive loss. Sometimes I think social workers and senior management have forgotten that they are dealing with real live human beings. 

We are not a commodity, not just a number or a place to put heads on beds. We feel loss, we feel fear, and we feel disappointment and a whole range of big emotions because we are human beings and we need support.

The fact when we decide to foster our social lives and families routines change, giving a home to possibly a scared, angry and traumatised child we have to dedicate our own lives to improving theirs, this makes us amongst the most caring individuals in the country.

My thoughts are Carers want fostering Social workers who are reliable and available particularly at times of crisis, or stress; having emotional support alongside more practical elements. Should this job really be 9 to 5 or is it time for change!

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!