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Had first visit from social worker seriously put off

(21 Posts)
Moganojax Mon 18-Jan-16 12:50:31

We have just had an assessment visit from a sw for a fostering agency. Cannot believe the number of hurdles and obstacles in the way is it the same for all agencies. Eg.
1 we are having some work done on the house. They will not even begin the process until the work is finished. We thought we could go through the process and betray to foster and the work will be finished probably at more or less the same time with a final house check before a placement.
2. We can't have a child under 5 until the house has been smoke free for two years.
3. We are unable to both have a glass of wine at the same time.
4. If a child is upset and crying NOT allowed to cuddle them
5. Do we have a ccj or debt, must get this cleared first
6 the house must be practically a show home.

This is all before she told us that the children are basically all damaged, violent and will not sleep, toilet properly and will smash up the house

Do they want people to foster?
Can anyone out there tell us what it is really like, the process, the children and how they do things once accepted.

We will look at another agency and local authority.

mydutifullaunderette Mon 18-Jan-16 13:09:14

I'm an adopter, not a foster carer, but that list looks rather familiar so I hope you don't mind me replying?

1. House building work is disruptive for everyone, stressful, rarely goes as planned, and schedules slip. To a child needing foster care, they may have experienced a lot of stressful chaotic homes (different causes of stress but the uncertainty will feel the same to them). I suspect you might be able to agree a middle ground, that perhaps final approval wouldn't happen until the building was complete, but I can understand their caution about investing in your training and then maybe the building taking years to finish.
2. That's the same for adopters - not much room for negotiation there.
3. So that in theory if you needed to drive to the hospital, etc, there would be one adult who could? Not sure how they apply that to single foster carers!
4. Are you sure that's what was said? It sounds odd! There do need to be boundaries, but other foster carers will know much more than me about how to interpret them. My adopted DC were definitely cuddled and comforted in foster families, thank goodness!
5. Adopters have to show they are stable financially - but no need to be perfect, just living within means and fairly on top of things.
6. My DC's foster families did not live in show homes. They were very clean, but otherwise cosy family homes with plenty of toys and signs of family life everywhere.

I'm sorry you were disheartened. Sometimes the initial stage meetings can be tough, because they do need you to know the hard stuff about the challenges and experience the children might need support with. It's a lot to take in, so maybe give yourself a chance to process it all a bit?

FoxesSitOnBoxes Mon 18-Jan-16 13:11:23

sad at the cuddling. Is that for all children or just those who might take a while to be accepting of a cuddle?

3PurpleCrocs Mon 18-Jan-16 14:18:35

I think the cuddling thing is pretty standard safeguarding. In reality it's rarely adhered to but you can't have SWs advocating it. Sadly allegations are VERY frequent and you have to take measures to protect yourself. Likewise there are lots of rules around bedrooms, bathrooms - upstairs in general really!

I think the smoke free for 2 years must be to prove you've definitely quit. Smokers and under 5s are a definite no no now, and no-one will want to invest in someone who' s only just given up.

Not sure about the glass of wine thing, it's certainly not the case here. If you'd both had a drink and needed the hospital you'd have to get a taxi like any other parent/carer. I can see they'd frown on you both turning up paralytic but one glass??

I found agencies very concerned about money. All wanted me to have months of savings in the bank. Understandable as there can be big gaps (months) between placements and I'm a single carer. I didn't realise it was the same for couples though.

Maybe try contacting your local authority? They tend to be more accepting of real life.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 18-Jan-16 14:25:24

Yes, you can cuddle - but you learn safer ways of cuddling. For example 'side on' cuddling instead of full frontal.

The smoking one is normal. Yes, you have to live within your means, they need to see your financial statements. The not drinking at the same is over zealous and not true - you need to not both be incapable of calling a taxi. There's no need for some fosterers to drive, so you're always going to need to be able to call a taxi etc.

Yes, they're trying to put you off a bit. And there's definitely a need to be realistic.

YorkshireMansWife Tue 19-Jan-16 11:25:26

Regarding the cuddling as Laurie said, you will find safer ways, ways which will work for all concerned.
Smoking - you cannot smoke inside with any aged child, and can only have under 5's placed with you if have both quit completely for two years.

House build - I doubt any LA or IFA would start the process fully until work is complete, to get a couple through assessment costs thousands and I doubt they would want to risk the house not being completed so they would be unable to place children anyway once you approved.

Wine - I have never heard that before, but ask them again about it just to clarify.

Money - We have a debt (a loan) and we were approved no problems. You will need to prove that any debt you have is manageable and that you can still manage financially if there is no child in place as you don't get an allowance if there isn't. They did call our mortgage company as well to check we were up to date with payments and we had to show copies of bank statements, utility bills, boiler cover, house insurance and car documents.

House being a show home - Tbh I thought if a house was like that it would put them off a bit, a house would need to be clean and warm but also lived in.

You will get a lot of information regarding these types of things at your Skills training course.
Please don't let this put you off, I do think they do try and tell you a worst case senario so they see what you're made off.
I enjoyed the process, very tiring at times, very thought provoking as you talk about your childhood and any issues you had and how they were managed.
Each LA/IFA will do it slightly different I would think.
We have been approved almost two years, it is the hardest thing we have ever done.
Would I do it again?? Hell yeah!! grin
Please pm me if you would like to ask more questions and I will be as honest as possible.

FarrowandBallAche Tue 19-Jan-16 13:53:15

I know of a foster carer that kisses on the lips. I'm not sure that is allowed.

ohoneybeeo Tue 19-Jan-16 20:38:27

I'm sorry she was so off putting, but I suppose she wanted you to know what's expected.
Can I just say the little one I have at the moment is a dream sleeper, sleeps from 7pm-8am AND doesn't smash my house up! So you may get a challenging child, but once rules and boundaries are in place most settle down fairly quickly. Good luck x

Kitsandkids Thu 21-Jan-16 09:52:41

Farrow - I occasionally kiss my 2 on the lips (just a quick peck) when they request it. They came to me just before the summer holidays and when they went back the younger one (then aged 5) wanted me to kiss him on the lips - I presume because he saw the other mothers kissing their kids on the lips. It felt cruel to deny it. I raised it once on a course and the sw trainer agreed that if the child requested it, it would do more harm to refuse, but told me to put it in my safe care policy; which I did.

Now he's 7 he more often runs in without a backwards glance! But this morning he hugged me so I kissed him on the top of his head and he lifted his face for a peck on the lips.

I've found that before being approved, sws do try and tell you all the negatives and worst case scenarios, to make sure you're really sure you want to go in for it. I was told not to let the children be naked around me, to make them bath with the door shut and come out wearing a dressing gown etc. In reality, I got 5 and 6 year old boys who just happily stripped off the first bedtime, and who needed me to sit in the bathroom with them when they were in the bath, then dry them afterwards. I checked this with their sw and she agreed that was all fine. Now they're 7 and 8 and last night the oldest came downstairs stark naked to show me a red mark on his leg until I pointed out the curtains were open so people walking past might see him!

FarrowandBallAche Thu 21-Jan-16 10:11:14

This isn't requested by the child.
The FC is very demonstrative and makes a big thing about having a cuddle when the child returns from somewhere, she then pulls the child in for a kiss on the lips.

Kitsandkids Thu 21-Jan-16 12:06:48

Well that sounds a bit odd then!

3PurpleCrocs Thu 21-Jan-16 12:24:02

Kits do you have all this in writing from your SSW, not just verbally? A fellow FC went through the allegation procedure last year in almost identical circumstances (7 yr old boy told teacher FC had been kissing him on the lips and it was also raised during the enquiry that she helped dry him after his bath). In reality we all know that a 7 year old still needs help with personal care but don't think a SW won't sell you down the river if anything official ever comes up. Get it in writing and cover your back.

Kitsandkids Thu 21-Jan-16 14:27:23

3 PurpleCrocs - I've got it all on my safe care policy which has been seen by my sw and at by the reviewing officer at my annual review. I don't dry them after the bath now though. When they started swimming with the school in September I realised they'd have to get ready afterwards themselves so their pleas of 'I can't dry myself!' started to be ignored as I knew they'd better get used to it!

suzy2b Thu 28-Jan-16 11:49:10

i don't know what agency you went to but my ssw i think wants a show home but not the first person that came to me never heard about the drinking , i'm with swiss

Claraoswald36 Mon 01-Feb-16 20:19:58

4. Is rarely adhered to thank god. I wouldn't place any of my children with smokers. The paragraph about the children being damaged is correct. Agency foster placements are very expensive. If you want less damaged kids look at in house. Lots of children in care come from dv backgrounds where alcohol is abused. I can't think of any of my carers who drink that often - always on duty!
Don't be put off. My kids in long term care are amazing and anyone who has the privilege of caring for them is very lucky grin

YorkshireMansWife Tue 02-Feb-16 09:46:24

If you want less damaged kids look in house

ALL kids in the care system are damaged in some way or other, and to imply the children fostered by LA carers are less damaged than others is a bit of a strange thing to say tbh, LA carers get the very damaged and the very challenging children as well. It shouldn't matter who you foster for, we all have our challenges, ups, downs, tears and triumphs.
As an LA carer that one sentence seemed to undermine what I do, even if it wasn't intended that way .

Claraoswald36 Tue 02-Feb-16 09:55:29

Oh god not intended that way at all. Sadly I see it in tiers of price bracket - my children who cannot be placed in house are then considered for agency which cost more so we expect more. Doesn't always work like that. My platinum standard carers are in house. Lots of my agency carers are a bit weak. Actually the majority of my in house carers are excellent and underpaid sad

YorkshireMansWife Tue 02-Feb-16 10:25:00

Hey no worries.
I am a bit tetchy this morning due to a challenging morning getting our young man off to school. I think that just hit a nerve blush

Cassimin Tue 02-Feb-16 11:49:04

Clara, by bigging up YOUR carers you have just insulted some agency carers. Well done.
I am with an agency. We had a little one placed with us. Had them just over a week. Took us this long just to get them sleeping for a few hours at night. Social worker, trying to save £££ then decided to lift child and place in house.
Placement lasted 3 weeks!
Child was returned to us as luckily we had not had anyone else placed.
LA experienced carers couldn't cope with behaviour. Child was 4!
We have had them for 4 years now. It's been a struggle but how could you let the child down?
I fear if they had not come back to us they may have had many moves and be damaged even further.

Claraoswald36 Tue 02-Feb-16 14:39:37

We have to reasses agency carers constantly and justify the placements. Of course the SW was trying to save £££ it's what we are ordered to do.

Cassimin Tue 02-Feb-16 16:53:04

At the cost of a child's well being?
Well at least we know what the priorities are. IRO was disgusted. If I was child's SW I would have done my best to leave the child at first placement and if my manager disagreed I would be very vocal about it and insisted my view was written down.
Also when considering who to apply to do the WEAK people decide to go to agencies and the PLATINUM go to LA?
I based my decision on the performance of my LA and the fact that carers I knew had left LA to move to agency.
Sorry OP did not intend to take over thread.
In our case when being assessed we were told much the same as you.
We had small loan but if we had no child in place it wouldn't affect our ability to pay.
In the case of alcahol, if the child had experience of any trauma around alcahol (though you may not know) you would tread carefully.
Our little one has been around people drinking eg family parties, wedding, out for meals. They are treated exactly the same as our own children.
Cuddles are given but I think you would have to play it by ear and go with the reactions of the child.

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