Emma’s fostering blog
Contact is stressful for Hannah and each time we get a change of Social worker the parents get up to their old tricks again which impacts on Hannah.
Last year contact was for an hour but now her new Social worker wants to change ‘what’s working’ to two hours, she pretended to respect my opinion but did what she wanted to do anyway, and then was surprised when after an hour Hannah put her coat on to go as she couldn’t cope.
Hannah came home with carrier bags of second hand things- a used bag with someone else’s name in felt tip all over it and inside was dirty, books with another girls name written in them, and Barbie cups, plates all used. DVDs about twenty, all copies and some not age appropriate, the others she already owns. Then next contact, the same again, more old books, used cups, bowls plates. Hannah was confused as she had birthday cards from other people and she doesn’t know them; an Aunt, I have no idea who she was, neither did Hannah and so she soon became agitated with me. I didn’t know this person and they are not in her life story book and at several LAC reviews it has been discussed with them the importance of not introducing new people as she would not benefit from this at this time.
Hannah is a teenager she is having her periods, wearing some make-up and perfume, yet they insist she still calls them Mummy and Daddy at contact and she struggles with this. I do have an issue with the second hand things she is being given not only because she has those items already but there is no thought there as they are filthy, torn or parts missing and this is very disappointing for her.
Over the years before every contact I email the Social Worker with suggestions of things she likes and that are reasonably priced in hope they may just get her one small thing that she would like, Hannah is a delight she likes the simplest of things. Hannah was a young child when she came into care, she has moved on, they have not, they can’t see this, and it is sad, but they cannot meet her needs as they have learning needs of their own and are still treating her as a much younger child. The Social worker needs to be looking at Hannah’s best interests by really looking at this contact to see if it can be improved as I do not want to send Hannah to contact where she is constantly reminded of the trauma.
My thoughts are Social workers need to manage the complex emotional needs of children, birth families and carers when planning contact, but foster carers have a crucial role to play in supporting contact and they need to be supported to do this by their social worker in whatever way is needed.