Monday, 15 September 2008

Wow, it's all happening today!

I spoke to my link worker at the agency this morning - about not being considered for A, about referrals they'd had that I hadn't been considered for (mostly as they were in school out of my area), and about the chance of actually fostering one day soon (and I also explained some things about needing to start working again soon, whether it's fostering or childminding, I need to earn an income!)

I then emailed her this afternoon to ask if she could find out about J (as her SW is one that I don't feel comfortable talking to). I just received this mail back:

I have just had a conversation with [SW], who confirmed that she was on leave for three weeks and has been back at work for a week now. She explained that things have changed considerably with regard to J's behaviour and that they are now reconsidering her placement needs in the light of this. In revisiting their consideration of single parent households they are now looking to families with birth children that are significantly older than J and who therefore could offer addtional support in the placement to meet her needs.
[SW] remembered your enquiry and thanked you for your interest.

Poor kid. Things sound really tough, and I wish I could help. But I know this kind of placement won't be possible until my daughter is a LOT older.

I'm actually kind of glad today that I pushed a bit. I found out quite a bit, and feel like I'm being taken seriously. I just hope a placement does come through before I'm so skint I need to go back to childminding full time!

If only...

...all social workers were like A's one! This is the reply she sent me:

Many thanks Emily. I wanted to ensure you knew I had given a placement with yourself proper consideration but really feel it wouldn't be the right placement for A.
I wish you all the very best, M.


They made a decision!

Not the one I wanted to hear, but I'm glad it was made quickly.

I won't be considered as a carer for A, mainly due to distance and the amount of contact that's needed with her birth family :(

I've emailed her SW to say thank you for being so great and to wish them the best of luck finding the right family for A.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Very slow progress

Last week was spent making some calls...

I phoned about J, whose profile I posted on here a while ago. (As I suspected!) her family finding SW had been on leave the whole of the summer so there hadn't been any progress. She will, however, be passing all of the foster carer profiles she's received over to J's SW and they'll select those they feel are the closest match. She said they'll be in touch... which I now know means it's very likely I'll hear anything!... so I'm going to call back in a week or so to pester them for another update :)

As well as J, there's another girl (A, 11 years old) who I'm very keen on. I actually saw A's profile before J's, and I called for information a long time ago - beginning of the year I think. I really like this child's SW! She's the first one I've 'met' who sounded happy to talk to me on the phone, and even more amazing she replies to my emails, often the same day and sometimes even immediately! Anyway, the reason I haven't mentioned this child before is that things had been put on hold, and the earliest they expected to know more was mid September. I didn't want to even think about it until I knew what was happening. Trying to be a bit proactive, I'd updated my profile to reflect my new house etc and thought I'd email it to the SW 'just in case' but also as a way of asking for an update ;) Turns out they are now looking for a long term foster carer. We've sent a few emails back and forth and the next step will be my link worker speaking to A's SW on Monday. I'm hoping this is the one that will work out, as from A's profile she seems perfect, but at the same time I'm trying to not be too hopeful.

And just in case things don't work out, I started making some other calls. I have called my local authority to request an inital meeting as I know if I was with them, not an agency, I'd probably have had plenty of placements by now. This is likely to be a very slow process, so I should know the outcome of my enquiries into J and A before I get my visit.

I have also made a couple of enquiries into adoption. I'm quite disheartened with my fostering experience (or lack of!) and wanted to find out what age my daughter would have to be before I could look into adopting a younger child. A 2 or 3 year age gap is normally required so I'm going to go with the flow these next couple of years and if it looks like an option by the time my bubba is nearing 4, I'm going to follow up those calls with a serious enquiry.

A's profile

A is 11 years old.
Culture & Heritage: A's mother is white British and her father is dual heritage white British/ Mauritian. A is currently being cared for by a white foster carer.

A is described by her carer as a "joy to care for". She can initially be fairly shy, but becomes more chatty once she knows you. She is healthy and has formed a good relationship with her foster family.

Main Details:

A was removed from the care of her mother in 2005 following long standing concerns about the care that both A and her brother, F (aged 13), received from their mother, which was thought at times to have been abusive and neglectful.

A has been with her current foster carer since September 2006 and has settled in well and her foster carer reports that she is a joy to care for.

A is described by her foster carer as girly as she likes to look nice, is fashionable and enjoys putting on jewellery and make up. A enjoys many things: school, playing with her friends and peers, reading, swimming, drawing, playing on the computer, dancing at discos and dressing up. She also likes sports, such as football, cricket, running and skipping. A attends the local youth club and a Saturday drama and dance group. A also loves animals and would like to have a pet of her own in the future.

A's favourite programmes are Tracey Beaker on CBBC, The Sweet Life of Zac and Cody on the Disney Channel and Drake and Josh on Nickleodean television.

A finds it hard to express her emotions and take affection from her carer. She tends to be quite shy, although she has gained in confidence in the year that she has spent with her current foster carer. A can be very chatty, she engages well with adults, responds well to boundaries and enjoys being part of her foster carers extended family. A has self-care skills and social skills appropriate for her age. A is a good eater.

Education: When she was first removed from her mothers care A was behind her peers at school. A attends a mainstream school. Her favourite subjects are art, design, technology and PE. Her least favourite subject is science. A loves school and her teachers say she is well behaved. A is popular with her peers and is said to be caring towards her classmates.

Health: A is in good health. She continues to have three weekly sessions with her CAMHS worker where she can be encouraged to express any worries or difficulties she may have. There are no significant concerns about her mental health, and she will be supported through any future transition.

Legal status: A full care order was granted in August 2006.

Religion: A's father was raised as a Roman Catholic and her mother is nominally a member of the Church of England. However, A has not been encouraged to practice any religion.

Supervised contact with her mother once every two months;
Supervised contact with her maternal grandmother once a month;
Supervised contact with her brother once a month;
Al has also just started having contact with her maternal aunt, the frequency of which is currently under review.

Family sought: A two-parent family with children of a similar age, preferably with a two year gap either side. A needs a family who will give her confidence and stability, promote her interests and help her to develop her self-esteem and resilience. They will also need to recognise A's significant attachments to her birth family. Ideally the foster family will reflect A's ethnicity but this is not an essential requirement.