Saturday, September 13, 2014


It is probably a truth universally acknowledged that a foster carer with a placement is someone in need of a good moan.

Not just carers, everybody needs a good moan. Every day there's something to moan about, and we moan to whoever we can find to listen.

The second best company if you want a good moan is someone who shares your circumstance and your point of view. The moaning can get stoked up to mountainous proportions. Such fun!

The absolutely best company if you want a good moan is someone who is a professional listener-to-moaning, and they are thin on the ground, but not if you are a foster carer. Because, among many other things, your social worker is a professional listener to foster carers moans.

They don't just listen and nod. They genuinely care if you were on hold for forty minutes on the phone to the benefits office trying to sort out your placement's situation. Your social worker will sympathise, praise your efforts and tell you a story about one time they had to wait on hold they heard "Your call is very important to us" a hundred times.

But mostly they'll just listen. Which is a fantastic skill.

Sometimes they will try to help with the problem you are having a moan about. Often they know that you just want to get it off your chest, speak your piece. Have a good moan.

I had a social worker who believed that constructive moaning isn't just good for us, it's good for society. Her view was that moaners were people who wanted the world to be better for them and provided what they were doing was good, the moaning meant they wanted it to be even better.

That's what she said.

There is a limit though.

You might lose friends if all you do is moan, but you won't lose your social worker. So it's only fair to play the game.

When they arrive at your house for their visits, let them have a moan about the traffic. Then it's your turn to have a moan about the state of your placement's bedroom. If the social worker raises the game with a moan about contact, then bingo! In you go with your moan about the real parents.

Do I moan to my social worker. Very rarely, says I. What I do do, is carefully explain the current challenges concerning my placements, outline the specifics that are in need of attention, and give a considered profile of how procedures and other people should be performing better. Yes, that's what I do. 

And my social worker agrees with almost all of my points. Never even hints that I should stop moaning.

Sometimes, if I'm paying attention to what I'm saying, I'll finish a moan by saying "Well that's enough of my moaning", which always seems to go down well.

After all, I just want things to be great for the child, that's what's behind my observations.

If my social worker does think I moan, she keeps it to herself. Or maybe she goes back to the office and has a moan about me and my moaning with her colleagues...actually I doubt she does that, they are too professional.

1 comment:

  1. You are very fortunate then to have a good social worker. My moans were taken as signs I couldn't cope and taken down in evidence against me.