MY CONTACT CAMPAIGN is starting to work. If you're a foster carer, how are your Contacts going?
A few posts back I talked about a Contact which is really throwing one of my foster children. After carefully logging everything that happens at Contact for over a year, and recording how much disruption the child's family were causing before during and after Contact, I found myself invited to a review. Present were all the usual Social Workers, plus a "high up" from Social Services. In a situation like this, the foster carer is accompanied by their own social worker, in my case a very professional person, and their job is to support the carer and take an overview; help the carer keep perspective and get the balance right between all the different standpoints.
One of the things that happens to us all when we take a view is the danger of the view hardening when someone else puts an alternative. Not only that, I usually find myself arguing more passionately on someone else's behalf than for my own neck.Especially if the person I'm supporting is a child who's had a rough enough time before being taken into care, and is still getting what seems like a raw deal in one or two respects.
I don't know about anyone else, but I can end up frustrated and then a bit cranky.
Take this bit of the review meeting: one of the child's "significant others" is suspected of colluding with an unknown other person, and committing a crime against myself. Obviously, though it's highly frustrating, I can't give the tiniest details, save to say it's a worry. The police have been working with Social Services to nail the "Perp". (Sorry, I've been watching too much cop TV).
If you're a would-be foster carer, let me tell you straight, something like this is almost unheard of in fostering, and Blue Sky, social workers, the police, have been fantastic.
As the discussion about this aspect of the Contact went on, something gradually dawned on me; I was the only person in the room who didn't know the identity of the suspect. Me. I'm the victim and the person working closest with the child at the centre of the case, and I'm being kept out of the loop.
Driving home from the review meeting I found myself having a great time winding myself up. Do you ever do that? Get the whiff of self-righteous indignation in your nostrils and start fuming and plotting all sorts of extravagant activity to right a massive wrong.
Actually, deep down, I knew that, as usual Social Services and the Police were right. A suspect is only a suspect, and as the person is definitely known to Social Services, they need to be involved to help the police get closer to the truth and build a case.
And I did manage to walk away with a reduction in Contact, which was my main hope. By about half actually, which is not bad. Plus it was agreed that the family have to behave during Contact, especially they have to treat the child with affection and respect.
So I suppose, all in all, my campaign is starting to work.
The Secret Foster Carer