Hi I am looking for advice we have had an 8 year old placed with us for almost a year and She has her hearing on the 6th of nov where social work reccomend her going home. The placement started well however we began having problems with child at summer where her mum was overstepping the boundaries i felt very unsupported and felt like ending the placement. Also at this point the contact went through the roof child began to get overnights at her mums and there was no consistency. mum would complain about something or i had arranged babysitter for training and this gave her extra contact. personal information about my health was shared with the mother and she had knowledge of different medical appointments and again used this for more contact. It is currently the october holidays and child was arranged to spend 3 nights at Mums 2 nights at ours for holidays My link worker informed me that they have decided to let her spend the whole holidays with her mum as she is very unhappy to come back to us however after the two weeks she will have to come back for a few nights before the hearing. This to me makes no sense as after spending 3 days she is finding it difficult so how will it be any better in 2 weeks. The child has really struggled to settle back into our routines and is quite good at going back and forth telling tales and i feel that social work are blaming us for the problem even though i have asked for advice only to be told its one of these things. This was our first placement.
OMG, I am so sorry to hear that this awful situation is your first placement. We need to keep our foster carers not scare them off at the first placement!
Unfortunately some birth parents know how to play the system and will do it shamelessy at any given opportunity, but your link worker is not supporting you appropriately at all.
I have to say that sometimes, it doesn't seem to me that the best interests of the child are at heart. As long as the child has a bed, and they are safe then SS can tick the box and move on.
Is it the child that is sharing personal information with her mother? Have you contacted your link worker's line manager? Have you contacted the mother's SW? Take charge and tell SS what you want to happen.
It's not the link worker who sorts out contact it's the child's actual SW. They should have outlined in the care plan what the contact should be. It should be formally outlined and fairly routine. This care plan sounds all over the place. I'm a SW with a long term care team - I'd be bloody unhappy with this arrangement plus the mother shouldn't be making direct arrangements with you unless it's formally agreed. Go back to the child's SW and demand some input.
I have had a lot of issues with the contact childs social worker is the one who authorises the extra and says to me there are no limits on contact she also shared the information with the mother about me needing her to have Nikita. I had been in hospital and child was put into respite and she said to mum she could have extra contact when I came out of hospital if I was tired and told her about my medical diagnosis. We have always followed the care plan and allowed all the contact but I did take issue when we were on holiday and took child to blackpool where I had agreed for phone call everyday a bit unwillingly then got told that her mum was complaining she couldnt text so eventually agreed to this as well when we came back childs social worker told me it wasnt our holiday to decide whats happening and said that our job is to promote contact which we really do,Since then I have just went along with things as they really dont listen to what I think. I have tried saying how unsettled she is but they say contact with mum at this scale is necessary which in a way I know is true but they have really made matters worse for child as she has no consistency.
I think you need to get a bit stroppy now and consider contacting the SW line manager. I'm not happy about this as hoc contact arrangement - from a professional point of view. The extra contact to cover respite needs is dodgy as hell. I do phased returns home (v occasionally as they don't happen often) and there should be a clear plan for increasing contact over a fixed period. You are nbu in any way and of course the kid is confused!
I would have hoped that you had got more support and guidance as this is your first placement. I agree with Gymbob that this could put you off and I do hope not. Please be very direct with your SSW and explain that you need more structure to the contact for the sake of your lo.
Maybe you could draw up a planner on the wall for your foster lo so she can tick off the days/hours til the next contact with mum. It could (or it may be a silly suggestion) help her settle back with you until next contact is due. I am not surprised that she is all over the place emotionally and confused.
The issue that struck me most is that your personal medical information was used for more contact by birth mum and that is just not right imho. What happened to the Data Protection Act! Something is not right with the SW's handling of this and the child sounds like she is reacting to the chaos and birth mum taking advantage.