Monday, October 18, 2021


 One eternal dilemma faces most fostering folk at some point.

It's when a foster child says;

"I'll tell you something if you promise not to tell anyone."

I suspect we face this one often and it's forever tricky as so much depends on so many things, not merely what the child wants to tell.

At the crux of the dilemma is this simple fork in the road;

If the child's disclosure has to be reported and the child discovers that you told someone in authority it can damage your relationship to the extent that the child may never tell you anything again, and you may miss out on even more substantial information, which might be a damaging thing for the child.

A lot depends on the child's age and ability to understand if you reply to the request like this;

"I'll respect your privavcy in what you may want to tell me but you must understand that if you tell me something that I'm required to pass on I'll have no option but to tell someone."

If you're not in fostering you might be wondering what these revelations might be, okay;

I've had kids tell me about being asked to do things in their bio home that are breaches of the laws of abuse. Those things simply HAD to be passed on, and when the police visted to collect the allegations from the child that child rightly guessed I had disclosed. In the most startling of such cases I first informed both Social Workers involved who rightly advised me to contact the police officers who were already investigating the child's adult family and needed all possible evidence as the case was heading to court.

Most incidents of this headache aren't so straightforward.

For example, recently a child told me that it upset her that one of her (older) teachers repeatedly told her class to 'pick a partner' for an activity such as walking crocodile down to the public library. The problem lay in the fact that the child had been only recently placed in the school and being new, none of the other children wanted to pick her. To my way of thinking this was completely wrong, the teacher should put in some effort and pair children off so that some positives are had. I spoke to the school and it blew up in my face. The teacher took the child to one side and, rather than apologise, explained the reason for her practice, which, incase you're wondering, was some convoluted argument about children needing to feel comfortable with who their partner was when out in public as there was traffic and other pedestrians to worry about.  

I've got a recent one of these on my hands, they're always tricky. I can't reveal, so I'M not going to say to you "If you promise not to tell…"

It's going to be between me, my kid and one other eprson.

If in doubt ask your SW, and my lovely Blue Sky person has taken control with the usual clear mind, good heart and professional acumen.



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