what happens at contact?

(18 Posts)
purpleloosestrife Sat 17-Nov-12 22:01:19

Can anyone tell me how closely supervised is it?

My FC (7mo) has come home with his nails cut down to the quick and bleeding. He's come back so ravenously hungry that I am left wondering whether he was fed at all. He's come back with such a wet nappy it weighed nearly as much as he does.....I could go on.

Yet, every time I query anything, I am told "contact is going really well"

On non-contact days he sleeps ( with a dream feed at about 11 ish) from about 6.30pm through to 6.30a.m. Occasionally, he asks for a feed at about 4a.m. He chuckles and laughs and is calm. He enjoys cuddles and my crap singing.

On contact days he sleeps fitfully for maybe 45 minutes at a time, if I'm lucky. He screams ( not cries - but SCREAMS) for maybe 2-3 hours before falling asleep exhausted. Cuddles, Milk , Lullabies, Walking, Baby massage, or anything else will have not have ANY effect at placating or consoling him during this time - it is like no-one exists.

spyinglife Sat 17-Nov-12 22:04:17

Is it supervised or non supervised contact?

purpleloosestrife Sat 17-Nov-12 22:05:06

supervised at a contact centre

Fishwife1980 Sat 17-Nov-12 22:32:57

The contact worker is supposed to making sure he is looked after correctly but usually what happens is they sit with a book and do nothng wile god knows gose one

We had a sitauation once were mum brought random people to the conatct also the parents swapped days and not a eye lid was even batted until I MADE a fuss

Please take picture of the babys nails then emil them to the childs social worker with whats gone one

The worst thing i have had was my little one had a nappy put on her when her knickers got wet from playing in the paddling pool in the centres garden she was 6 shock mum didnt know what else to put on her and yes the contact worker just let it happen

Contact is. Real mess all i can fo is say again get your self a good camera take pictures if need be and record record record and make sure you raise this at review

purpleloosestrife Sat 17-Nov-12 23:09:56

Oh I've already had so many swapped times/days for contact already - what with the sleep deprived nights, I can hardly keep track of it. Plus I've had to cancel my DD's swimming as we had to come back as mum had failed to turn up for contact and there was no-one to look after FC. Poor DD is only 2 and was very good about it, but I know she was upset.

I spotted his nails and mentioned to contact team and SW before they had left my house after dropping him back after contact - apparently "contact had gone well" - and she was quite shocked when I pointed out the state of his little hands. I never thought to take a picture - but good advice - unfortunately, I'm sure there'll be cause in the next few weeks or so.sad

childatheart Sun 18-Nov-12 13:28:47

Contact is all about the wishes of the birth parents and I'm afraid the child and respective fc's and there families just have to get on with it.

We have been messed around so many times that we have lost count and as for supervision, I think in some instances it leaves a lot to be desired

scarlet5tyger Sun 18-Nov-12 14:16:34

I think I'm lucky because the staff at my contact centre are all very good. Sometimes parents will do something "bad" which isn't stopped, but I've been told this has to be allowed so it can be documented. If it was dangerous then it would be stopped (eg giving child a bottle without cooling it) but if it was something else, eg cutting most of FCs lovely hair off... then it would be allowed with maybe a note of caution.

Yes I've collected children from contact with dirty nappies or hungry but I've assumed that the supervisor will be noting this. I've also had lots of FC "play up" after contact, even when it went well, simply because of the disruption to routine.

Parents have to turn upto my local centre at least 30 minutes early and if they don't then contact is cancelled. This avoids taking a child unnecessarily. The staff have also, in my experience, tried their best to keep contacts to the same time each day to assist with routines as much as possible. We do all have to transport to and from contact though.

lisad123 Sun 18-Nov-12 14:23:28

Sadly they have to let certain things to happen to note it and show how parents can't manage ect.
I can tell you I used to note every little thing in a contact, how they were feed, spoken to, contact, nappies ect. As a family support worker I was "allowed" to recommend they do certain things like consider changing nappies ect. But I believe most contact workers wouldn't/couldn't recommend anything. Please note everything down, photos and give it to the SW, this will help her report too

threeandcounting Sun 18-Nov-12 16:10:05

Hello

I have also had times when I have been concerned about what was taking place at contact (ie changing nappies, feeding, routine etc) but any concerns were always discussed at the lac review (i made sure to mention any concerns in paperwork beforehand) where sw/support worker would have extra "info" on what had happend.

I also was very careful to phone sw with any concerns, and also to duplicate this in an email. I think taking a

threeandcounting Sun 18-Nov-12 16:31:19

Hello

I have also had times when I have been concerned about what was taking place at contact but any concerns were always discussed at the lac review (i made sure to mention any concerns in paperwork beforehand) where sw/support worker would have extra "info" on what had happend/or not happend...

I also was very careful to phone sw with any concerns straight after contact and also to duplicate this in an email. I think taking a photo is a great idea.

Whilst my lo was having contact, I had a contact book that was kept on changing bag, where lo parents and myself exchanged info about lo (when they were last fed/changed and due to be fed again etc). This was also shared with sw.

When contact is taking place, parents also have to be at centre 30mins before it starts, which means I don't have a wasted journey if they don't show up.

Hope all goes ok for you and lo in the coming weeks x

threeandcounting Sun 18-Nov-12 16:32:40

Oops, sorry for previous posting...didn't know I had posted too early blush

purpleloosestrife Sun 18-Nov-12 20:36:23

thanks for all your replies - I can only really have a look on mn in the evenings after bath and bedtime, so can't always reply immediately.

Will definitely keep a camera handy. I keep a contact book, too - which for the most part, goes well, but do get the occasional odd notes/comments/questions in there.

purpleloosestrife Fri 23-Nov-12 22:58:02

Thanks again to everyone for helping with this. Today he came back so traumatised that he cried for 2 hours before falling asleep exhausted.

I have asked countless times that they ( the parents) not send back the dirty nappies/wipes/clothes bok stuffed into my lovely bag ( with all the clean spare clothes/nappies etc - as I then I have to re-wash clothes and bin perfectly good nappies as they are now covered in puke/poo) I have even found their crisp packets /sandwich wrappers in my bag!!

I am really trying to be calm - but really fed up with being treated like I am their personal skivvy. angry Put your rubbish in the bin, people and treat my belongings with respect!!

FS hates contact. I hate putting him through it ( not to mention dealing with his mother's incessant crap moaning about everything - she has complained that today I haven't cleaned her rubbish out from the bag from yesterday's contact......!!)

I really hate being party to a system where we take the happy, smiling,content baby that sleeps through and we make him visit someone who at 7mo gives him nightmares. (despite us being told " contact is going well") God only knows what a "bad" contact is like......

gallivantsaregood Sat 24-Nov-12 08:32:55

Could you perhaps buy 2 cheap nappy bags for contact and try and get them to put dirty clothes etc in the empty one........ Obviously someone would need to explain the expectation, but if it worked would save you stress.

Alternatively put the spare clothes in a bag in the nappy bag and at least they would stay clean......

gallivantsaregood Sat 24-Nov-12 08:35:56

Many children of all ages are upset by contact. It doesn't always mean they have been ill treated at the contact.

It is confusing for them, and especially for babies. They have to spend time with their parents who can essentially be strangers.....

scarlet5tyger Sat 24-Nov-12 10:06:52

My FC is 5 months and has just started to become upset by contact - last week cried each session and when came home. I know his mum is very good with him though and contact really does go well usually. I've experienced this with lots of other babies too and I think the whole idea of contact needs looking at for babies - my own LA has reduced it to no more than 3 hours a week.

I totally hear where you're coming from with the nappy bag! For my first FC I bought an expensive change bag that I loved but was wrecked within weeks. Since then I've gone with the free ones from Boots, as do most other FC I know. Save your nice ones for at home! I also ask the parents to put any dirty clothes inside the disposable nappy bags which I always have in the bag. As for sending dirty nappies back to you - disgusting! They should be in the bin at the contact centre.

purpleloosestrife Mon 26-Nov-12 22:44:52

galivant I'd say that him coming back with bleeding fingernails is ill treatment - (through ignorance rather than malevolence,though, I think, to be fair to his mum)

I haven't sent an expensive bag to contact - I'm just peeved at the fact that it is a) my property - treat it with respect, I would do the same for you b ) it is DISGUSTING to put used wipes/nappies/rubbish in with his clean clothes/dish and bowl for his meal c) I am not a skivvy put on this planet to clear up after for you...............

scarlet I agree that contact is unsettling for the under 1's - wish our LA would start to put foster children first instead of being so "politically correct" they put the parents first every time.

Feel like I'm the only one fighting FS ' corner. His mother "went off on one" screaming and shouting when they tried to change contact one day to 10.00 a.m. (apparently she couldn't see how she would ever get up in time to get there.....she lives 15 minutes' walk away from the contact centre....) Hate to break it to her - but a BABY might need her attention before 10.00 a.m so she had better get used to a few hours less sleep! However, they changed the contact time to suit her ......... not her son's routine.....

gallivantsaregood Tue 27-Nov-12 07:25:56

Purple: I agree bleeding fingers isn't good and yes dirty nappies etc is disgusting. However my point was to say that because a child is unsettled, maybe even distraught after contact does not always equate to the child having been ill treated in any wayduring contact.

I do think that you EXPECTING your property to be respected ( and realistically it is babies, as will likely have been purchased with. Boarding out allowance) is fairly unrealistic in the circumstances. This mum is obviously struggling. At least she isn't leaving nappies on the floor. Maybe in the bag is an improvement? I understand it's annoying, but children are not removed from their parents for no reason. It is therefore reasonable to expect that there MAY be issues with hygiene, boundaries, care if child which if you are concerned you are right to raise with SW for the best interests of the child.

Your anger about the vague seems a little disproportionate to the situation. It's not nice but that is the reason we fostercarers are paid a boarding out allowance which is more that what it would typically cost to care for a child. The extra us to cover situations like this. Birth parents often don't hold the same values as us and struggle often with basic caring for their child. Often that is why the child has been removed. Best to accept that things like this (bag) wil hapoen, raise as a concern but don't stress about it or you'll go loopy.

As for the bleeding fingers this is a real concern and you were right to report it. However I have ti tell you that the 1st time I cut my son's nails I cut him and he bled. He was in NICU at the time and very very ill. I was beside myself, but it was done and I couldn't undo it!

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