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Concerns about friend fostering (long -sorry)(11 Posts)
I am hoping that someone with experience of fostering might be able to provide some advice here.
I know nothing about fostering, other than what I have read on posts here and via a friend who provides short term foster care for young babies.
I suppose my preconceptions are that it takes a very special family to open their home for the good of a child.
I am seeking advice about a friend and really don’t know what to think or where to turn for advice so here’s hoping you can help.
My friend has decided to foster because she “needs the money”: the family (2 ds, 1DD) have a huge house (it is her dream home that she was going to have at any cost) and very substantial mortgage and money is tight. Because her husband works in Germany for much of the time, she says she can’t get a job, though I would argue that single mums manage to work.
She has started the process of fostering and has put me and another friend forward as referees. I completed the reference (though it has yet to be followed up by anyone from the LA) but since doing so, many comments /discussions have been had that worry me. I did put in my reference that Friend sees this as a good career alternative, though my argument is not so much the money/career point as we are bombarded in our area with advertising for Fostering as a career.
Friend is a very dedicated mother and her children are the most important things in her life – she is obsessed with them excelling at school and the youngest (8) already knows that university is expected of her. I have witnessed comments about other children who she wouldn’t consider good enough/doesn’t meet up to standards.
Things that worry me include comments such as “well if we get one that disrupts the family, it’ll have to go back’; ‘’My family must come first”; “if [the child] causes trouble, I won’t stand for it’. And many more similar comments.
We were discussing schools and there is no room at her local school so the child, if school age, will have to go elsewhere. She has stated that the child/LA will have to sort transport as she will be on the school run with the others and is not prepared to miss that.
She is very much of the opinion that any foster child will have to fit in with the existing family dynamic/schedule. Is this really how it works?
She does seem to get stressed easily and I wonder if she will cope if a foster child has issues. Please accept my apologies if I have made the wrong assumption, but if a child is being fostered, then are the chances of issues high??
I could go on but suffice to say that I do wonder if she is doing the right thing and I wonder if I have done the right thing in agreeing to be a reference, given what I have heard of late.
Any words of wisdom would be very much appreciated.
I'm not even a foster carer yet, just finished the assessment process, but I can tell you already that your friend is in for quite a shock. For starters, if she has applied to the LA, they pay buttons, certainly not enough to cover costs of child upkeep and a huge mortgage.
Also, yes you are quite right, foster children 'VERY' often come with challenging behaviours that need to be handled with certain techniques. Putting pressure on them to achieve academically will be a definate no no too.
I'd like to think if she isn't an appropriate carer, either A. the assessment process will totally put her off or B. her social worker will easily see this as they go through the assessment, and not recommend her. However, you can't rely on either of these things happening so, if you're really worried, speak to her social worker in confidence.
Gosh that doesn't sound promising does it! She sounds resentful of the poor child already!
I'm not approved yet either, but she does know she has to facilitate contact sessions? These could be up to 5 times a week for some children. Meeting after meeting with lots of people, this has to be fit in around normal family things too. Maybe when she goes on the skills to foster course she will get a wake up call to whats actually involved. Its not highly paid baby sitting, it is so much more than that.
This doesn't sound good at all. Maybe these issues will be picked up by the social worker during the assessment but I feel that it is your duty to be honest when they contact you. Foster children need carers who can commit and love them no matter what issues they may have. The insecurities of a foster child is likely to make them more challenging and it doesn't sound like your friend has the necessary passion to make it work.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I have to pick up my children soon but will check back in again later!
I think many of the comments are right - sounds like she is in for a shock, and I think perhaps she doesn't have the passion, which I understand to be fairly essential for this role. She's not mentioned facilitating contact sessions, but I wonder how that will work with her children's (many) commitments.
The family had a home visit and her children were interviewed to see how they felt about it (fine, she tells me) -would this have been the assessment?
I feel very disloyal even posting here but I am concerned.
in our LA, the questionnaires are followed up with an interview from the SW.....you may be able to voice your concerns to him/her at this follow up interview.
No that sounds like it was just the initial home visit, the actual assessment process takes up 6 months. It is VERY in-depth. In theory, her social worker will get to know her and the kids very well, and 'should' flag up any concerns. Your friend will have to do a course, which pulls no punches and tells potential foster carers some of the horrific things these kids go through. Many people who just aren't right for fostering are put off by the course alone.
Being placed in the wrong home could cause kids even further damage and trauma, so I really would voice your concerns if I was you. She won't need to know you've told the social worker, but it may be that justs points the social worker in the right direction to ask some 'leading' questions so they can judge her answers and reactions for themselves.
Thanks so much. I think I need to voice.
You are right of course, that further trauma could be caused so I need to do the right thing.
Agree with others. The process that she will have to go through will be an eye opener for her. Also sws are thorough and will spot things about her.
As regards transport. The child may well carry on be educated where she was educated before. Which may be several miles away. Sometimes a taxi is provided there and back. And the cost of that is not likely to come out of the foster carers pocket.
But she would be expected to liase with the school and see the teachers there from time to time. She would be the day to day parent in that regard.
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