One section of Fostering which causes a lot of distress is the whole process of complaints. I was once told that if you’ve never had a complaint against you then you’re not a proper Carer. Although I don’t agree with that sentiment it is quite a shock to the system the first time.
The reason I raise this point is that I received a call from a Carer who has just had their first complaint and is very stressed about it. The complaint was from a parent who has regular weekly contact with their child but has missed quite a few, without warning, causing great inconvenience all around.
At the last contact, the carer was 10 minutes late due to bad traffic. She had phoned ahead to say she was running late. On arrival the Mum, who was also late, laid into the Carer, in front of the child, getting right in her face and shouting at her. This was witnessed by staff at the contact center.
The Carer was upset, as was the child, and the Carer made the decision to leave. The Carer received a number of abusive calls from Mum but ignored them. A couple of days later the Carer received a call from their Link worker saying that Mum had lodged an official complaint about the Carers ‘conduct’.
This resulted in the Carer having to attend an online meeting to discuss her ‘behaviour’ on the day. The poor Carer was beside herself with worry as she had never been involved in a complaint before. Fortunately, she had a very supportive Link worker, and also the Contact center had also provided a report stating what had happened.
The Carer had also retained the messages on her phone and, most importantly, had written a full report in her diary when she got home after the incident. The meeting decided that the complaint from Mum would be noted but no further action needed to be taken.
The lesson to be learned from this situation is that you must always keep your diary up to date and record any ‘incidents’ however minor they may seem at the time.
James (name changed) is full of the joys of spring. He got a commendation from his school for his school work. I was pleased for him as I had witnessed the hard work he was putting in and the fact that he never needed to be reminded to complete his homework and never rushed it. The award was a complete surprise to him and was announced during an assembly.
He felt a mix of happiness and embarrassment. I said that I would treat him to something as a well done from me. Paige was also ecstatic and told her parents who then took the time to call James and congratulate him.
I took delight in taking a picture of him, holding the certificate, and forwarded it to his Social Worker and my Link Worker. The Social Worker forwarded it to Mum as well.
So a good day for me and James and this shows the ups and downs of being a Foster Carer.