James (name changed) had football training on Tuesday night so I ran him down there and hung around. It was really autumnal being both chilly and windy. I didn’t want to drop him off and go home as Id struggled to go out again out of the warm.
The coach worked the boys hard and you could see that a few were struggling but James seemed to be enjoying himself. Halfway through training the coach called him over and was chatting to him. James then left the group and went over, with another lad, and started training with the first team.
I didn’t know if the first team were short or needed a couple of extra bodies for training but James spent the rest of the session with them, going through drills and practicing different skills. When training finished he was sent back with his normal group and stood there getting the details about Saturday’s game.
It was a local away game so no long traveling. He came out of the changing rooms after showering and got into the car. I asked about him training with the first team and he said that the coach wanted to see how he coped playing with adults and people physically bigger than him. He had enjoyed the experience and the senior players were very welcoming to him.
On Wednesday I touched base with James’ social worker. Nothing had been heard from Mum; she hadn’t turned up for a meeting and had not taken part in any of the online discussions she had been invited to.
The social worker said that Mum’s situation appeared to be getting more chaotic and that she had been told that any thoughts of James returning home were a ‘non-starter’ at present. Mum had moved, it appeared, a number of people into her flat and there had been numerous complaints regarding noise and behaviour.
The housing association had sent her letters regarding behaviour and there were now more serious letters being sent about her being in breach of her tenancy agreement. I didn’t share any of this information with James as I didn’t want him to be concerned about what was going on.
I had also received a phone call from a prospective carer I had spoken to some time ago. She was coming to the end of her form F and had been given a panel date. She was now getting nervous as all of her family were constantly asking her when she was getting a placement.
I told her just to relax and chill and let things take their normal course but she had the old foster carer’s conundrum of working and not knowing when to expect a placement. I have never had this situation but I know it’s common and it is really difficult.
I do totally respect carers that divide their time with full-time employment and fostering. It’s another issue that carers have to deal with and one that tends to put people off coming into care. There are enough barriers as it is and the anxiety of earning money when you do not have a placement just adds to that.
Fosterman’s Foster Care Blog.