fostering blogs

A Victorious Day

Fostering Blog.

We had a great weekend. James’ (name changed) football was cancelled due to the Virus so we decided to have a day out. Having spent Friday deciding where we should go I decided upon Portsmouth as it’s not a long drive and there is lots to see there.

James hadn’t been there before so it was somewhere different for him to see. We set off in good time and the journey was uneventful and pretty quick. We found a parking place and set out to explore.

We went to Old Portsmouth and saw the Dockyard and HMS Victory as well as one of the new aircraft carriers which James was hugely impressed with. We then went to one of the piers and watched the Isle of Wight hovercraft set off.

We then went in the amusement arcade, on the pier, and spent a few pennies on the various machines before setting off in search of somewhere to eat. We found a nice chippy with a seated section and enjoyed cod and chips and I introduced James to mushy peas, which he seemed to enjoy.

We walked around the shopping centre which had some great shops and I treated us both to some new tops. We set off for home about 5 and the journey home was as straightforward as the journey home. James was asleep pretty much straight away, must have been the sea air, and we got home in a decent time.

Sunday was all about a big roast and watching football on the telly. James had some homework to finish, which he did, and it was a lovely chilled day. About 4pm James got a call from Mum. He was unsure about answering it, but he did. Surprisingly it was quite a positive call with Mum apologising about Christmas and asking James if he wanted her to ask the Social Worker about arranging a pre-Christmas contact. James said that he would think about it.

They made small talk for about 10 minutes then ended the call. James asked me what I thought about him seeing Mum before Christmas and I said that I thought it would be a good idea.

The following day James set off for school and at about 9:30 I got a call from the Social Worker saying that Mum had called her and what were my thoughts about a contact before Christmas. I said that it would be a good idea and that they could exchange gifts and it might help Mum focus on the rehabilitation she was going to go through.

So the Social Worker went off to organise dates and said she would get back to me. She called me about 2 hours later. Mum, apparently had now asked if James could stay over on a Saturday night so he was there the whole weekend. The Social Worker had said that it was unlikely and Mum had gone off on one and slammed the phone down.

That evening Mum tried to call James on a number of occasions but he wasn’t in the mood for the chat. He then came out and said that he suspected Mum would ask him for money and he didn’t want to give her any because he knew what it would be spent on.

So what I thought would be a nice opportunity for them to meet turned out to have ulterior motives. You live and learn.

A Blogging Simply Fostering Foster Carer.

fostering blogs

Fostering Uncertainties

Fostering Blog

We heard today that James’ (name changed) Mum’s rehab won’t be starting until after Christmas and that James will be with me until she completes it, which should be in mid to late February. Obviously I am delighted about this but was wondering how to tell James.

I didn’t want to tell him in a triumphant way as I am basically telling him that he won’t be home with his Mum for Christmas. So I opted for the quieter more reserved way, which I considered more appropriate. James got home from school about 4:15 and I said to him about Mum and her rehab. He answered that he was sad but also looking forward to Christmas and not having about Mum or her friends or drugs.

I told him that I was sure that his Social Worker would organise a time for him to go and visit Mum if that is what he would want, he said he would think about that.

It’s unusual, in Fostering, to be able to plan ahead like I can now do with James. Foster carers, in the main, understand that their ‘work’ can be unpredictable and that planning too far ahead can be a dangerous thing to do.

I can think of many occasions where I’ve thought that a placement is going to be long term and then it has ended quickly or the opposite where you think a placement will be short term and 3 years later? That’s the problem with Fostering, the uncertainty.

In a ‘normal’ job you know you work 9-5, five days a week, for as long as you want or your employer wants. You know that once a month you will receive a wage and you then know what household bills and expenses you have to pay and how much you can save. With Fostering that can be difficult. You could be empty for a month so how do you then earn a wage?

It can be very difficult. It’s always good to have another income source, if you can. I have been employed as a Care Worker and a Support Worker so that if I am empty, which isn’t very often, then I have work, and money, to fall back on. Plus the training you get, for free, with the larger care companies, is very beneficial and relevant to Foster care. That’s where zero hours contracts can come in very handy as you can dip in and out of work whenever you want to.

James got home from school in a very good mood. I asked him if there was any particular reason and he said no, he was just happy and he can focus on nice things for a change.

We talked about Christmas and I said that we were still very much in limbo as to what we could do, due to the virus.

It would be nice to spend it with family but that may not be possible. He was quite accepting of that and said that it wouldn’t really matter as he was away from the madness, at home, which came every Christmas.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

fostering blogs

Calls and Meetings

Fostering Blog

I had a long conference call with the Social Worker, her Manager and my Supervising Social Worker which last about an hour.

The conversation centred around several different points. The main point was Mum’s refusal to not contact James (name changed) and upset him. It was agreed that Mum was only thinking about herself in these situations and not whether James would be upset by the conversation.

Nobody felt that contact should be stopped but that Mum should be urged to think about James and not upsetting him. The problem seems to be that Mum is incapable of taking James’ thoughts into consideration, which obviously explains why he is in care.

The Manager told us that a place had been found for Mum in a rehab centre in South West London and that Mum had been told, bluntly, that she had to complete the whole six weeks before any consideration would be given to James returning home.

Apparently Mum was unhappy with this but, after several failed attempts at rehab; the Manager had told her that this was pretty much her ‘last chance saloon’. The conversation ended with the Manager saying that she personally, would talk to Mum regarding telephone contact and what was acceptable, or not, to discuss with James.

After the group meeting I spoke to my Supervising Social Worker afterwards and she thought the placement was going well and that James was really settled. I updated my diary and tried to catch up with all the stuff I was supposed to be doing that day.

The weekend was great. Loads of football on the telly and James played for his team on Sunday morning. He played well and scored a couple of goals which he was chuffed about especially as we had a £1 per goal agreement in place.

We stopped at Sports Direct on the way back from football and I treated him to a nice Hoodie and he treated himself to a new tee shirt. Sunday lunch was cooked and we settled down to eat. The rest of the afternoon was football until it was time to sort his stuff out for the week ahead. We had a nice chat about school and how he felt very settled there.

He said that there were a couple of mates that he missed from his old school, but that was it. The interesting thing was that Mum wasn’t mentioned during the whole conversation. No mention of missing her and no comments or questions regarding her.

He seemed very relaxed about life and was very happy with his surroundings. He actually looked different too. He had put on a bit of weight and just looked healthier. He liked his new clothes and was very particular about what he wore.

He showered and washed regularly and liked to feel good about himself. I had given him some old after shave I had but had to have a word about how much he put on as he had gone a little overboard on a couple of occasions.

He went off to bed about 10 and I prepared my schedule for the week ahead.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.