Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.
Cathy Glass has been cloned!(16 Posts)
I've just discovered there are two patronising "foster carers" writing for Harper Collins! Handily, they both work for the same agency, and write remarkably similar stories about the children they foster, which all seem to have remarkably happy (and sudden) endings...
A friend gave me a couple of Casey Watson novels as she knew I'm a foster carer and thought I'd like them. I read the first one thinking it was just co-incidentally similar to the Cathy Glass ones I'd read, then I read the second. Even though I don't actually believe a word Cathy Glass writes is true any longer, she does at least seem fairly inoffensive. Casey Watson however had me fuming throughout book number 2 - about a little girl who cared for her mum who was ill in hospital. On practically every page Casey reminds you that she and her husband are specialist carers, coping with kids that "normal" carers cannot handle. In neither book was there any behaviour that "normal" foster carers don't see every day!
She mentioned attachment training a couple of times, but barely seemed to notice that her foster children were displaying all signs of attachment problems. She didn't spot that the little girl she cared for had OCD until halfway through her stay, despite her showing all the classic signs. She leaves a clearly damaged little girl to play alone with her grandson, then is horrified that the little girl takes his nappy off...
I think I'd be less critical if I still believed that these books were written by genuine foster carers. As it is, someone is making a vast sum of money from stories that they are advertising as true.
A quick Google reveals that Cathy Glass now has 16, sixteen, books published! I barely have time to write a few posts on here in an evening! When do these specialist carers get to write a whole book??
Ps - I'm not in any way intending my post to be a slight against genuine specialist foster carers, just the opposite in fact. I know several specialist carers who would be horrified to have people thinking this is what they do.
I agree, all these children that she miraculously turns around and whatever happens she just calmly goes into a wonderful, perfectly phrased explanation for the child (often in adult language though), she never gets tired or angry, her own children are so perfect and understanding about the foster children's needs. What about the one where she found the boy's father missing in Africa or something, she probably did that on her way to liberate Kabul or something. Wow she's just so fucking wonderful isn't she?
Oh and I've never heard of Casey whatsherface, just Cathy Glass, don't want to read anymore thanks, the reality is enough thanks without reading about how perfect I ought to be.
I'm not a foster carer, although I do have a little occasional contact with foster carers at work, and even I took her book with a huge pinch of salt. It was the one about a baby whose mother felt she had to give him up for family reasons and then
conveniently changed her mind at the end . It was just completely unrealistic in my completely unprofessional opinion!
I commission fostering placements and having just done a tender I had to define "specialist" foster carers as I could not find a definition (try googling it). I defined "specialist" as referring to the support from the agency not the carers. If a carer referred to themselves as "specialist" I'd be somewhat suspect. Remand or professional carers on the other hand could well be referred to as "specialist".
Roshbegosh you have taken my rage away and made me laugh!
flummoxedlummox the neighbouring LA to mine has a few specialist carers - I think they're officially called level 3 carers but everyone I know just refers to them as specialist carers (not in the rather big headed way Ms Watson does I hasten to add!) My own LA kindly told its own foster carers that they don't subscribe to this policy because we are all specialists. (And therefore all receive the same basic pay....)
I have all cathy glass and casey Watson books.
<<Runs off and hides>>
scarlet My LA has level 1,2,3 carers but we certainly don't refer to them as specialist just more experienced. I have this conversation with SW's and team managers all the time. It's even used in proceedings the same as "therapeutic" residential units, both are a crock. As I painstakingly point out life and fostering experience are what they should be looking for rather than a label.
We were specialist Foster parents some 35 years ago looking after special needs children with a very wide range of problems we received enhanced fostering rates , how ever it was phased out into all fostering
within a few years as was the special training enabling all foster parents too be equally trained , extra payments were also phased out.
Now we all have too do Fostering Standard Training and NVQ 3 training is available , along with a very wide range of compulsory and optional training. Our LA requires FC too complete at least 3 training sessions a year regards in addition also too attend support group's workshop's and training sessions monthly.
Think Class is out of touch with reality.
Oh she manages all that with a babe on each hip.
I have never read any of these books but FCs have mentioned them before and said they enjoyed reading them. I looked at one of Cathy Glass's books in a bookshop and it did say "non fiction" (I think) on the back cover. I knew they were not written be real foster carers because:
1. No FC would have the time to churn out books at this rate!
2. It would be breaking all confidentiality rules to write about children and their circumstances even if not using their correct names
3. The bit I read in the bookshop did not ring true at all.
I don't know how these women get away with calling their books "non fiction" because clearly they are fiction, though they clearly have to research the fostering process and it's not that difficult is it, to put a spin on things and make it out that it's them who are "doing the doing"
Think I will write to Harper Collins and ask how these books can be classified as non-fiction when clearly they are fiction.
As for "specialist" foster carers, as far as I'm concerned all foster carers are specialists in their own particular way, doing a very hard job caring for some of the most disadvantaged and emotionally damaged children in our society. If that isn't special I don't know what is!
With the help of my daughter who is an academic I searched the literature and media for maybe six or seven of Casey Watson's 'stories' which would most definitely have attracted high profile media coverage and could find no evidence of these cases.
This left me to conclude that these events are historic cases of child abuse and Watson has access to them possibly with the help of Harper Collins via unsolicited manuscripts submitted by genuine abuse victims and survivors. So I set out to research this matter.
After many hours (that's all it took) I noticed that Watson is a member of HarperCollins online writing community and has access to a wide variety of abuse stories. HC invite people to upload their stories to be bastardised by their anonymous so called foster carers. This is a money making racket that's for sure.
The fact these stories are marketed as factual shows a contempt to the courage of child abuse victim and survivors.
Student Nurse although I suspected that the stories were fiction what you posted actually makes me feel even worse! The children in the stories have been through enough without a publishing company now ripping them off too.
Absolutely. I have done further research on the Harper Collins website and there are at least two real stories, one in particular about abuse that Watson is emulating.
The HarperCollins review for this book remains on the website and I contacted the author because in the review which was glowing HarperCollins said the book would make a fantastic publishing project and they were taking the manuscript under consideration for publication as a matter of precedence. This particular author refused a contract because as she explained Harper Collins wanted to turn it into 'pulp fiction' and she didn't want her story to be bastardised for commercial reasons. Consequently the author had the manuscript published and it has recommended as a key text for student mental health nurses, clinicians by several universities.
The author complained to Harper Collins because Watson's story lines were so similar. They laughed at the author and took additional information from her manuscripts. The author had all her manuscripts uploaded when Casey Watson joined the HC on line writing community. Watson stated that she had only fostered five children!
The author also told me that Harper Collins had to change certain markers. The author's original story is about a 6 year old child caring for a seriously ill mother in the 1960's. One of three siblings they were ostracised by their community and seriously neglected, the girl had no idea how to wash or clean her teeth and had awful personal hygiene problems throughout her adolescence and did not even know how to use a toothbrush. The girl was left with her dying mother with no help and had to watch her mother die a slow lingering death. In adulthood the girl didn't even know how to be a mother, she had never been cared for herself.
The father didn't live with them but was very abusive and obviously with no caring adult they lived in squalor. He used the girl as a prostitute. The social services who were part of this closed community did nothing and ignored their plight. I could go on but I am sure you get the picture.
In one of Watson's books Harper Collins had to change the original synopsis from a six year old child and re age the child as a toddler. Well I ask you, a toddler would never be categorised by anyone as a carer, it would be a seriously neglected child.
Using the female child as a prostitute is the only part of the story Watson has not covered but I have a feeling it will appear sooner or later.
I hope you find this information of interest. It certainly opened my eyes
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