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Is this normal??(8 Posts)
Greetings all, my first post.
My husband and I are approved carers, and have just finished our first placement.
We are agency carers and found a profound lack of information regarding our child, covering his current risks, education and health. He had a long history with social and educational services - none of which we were informed about when he arrived. In fact we were lied to really - we did not he was excluded from school nor were we informed he had recently tried to commit suicide. We have found this completely unacceptable - our agency have said they're weren't aware of any of this either. Maybe I'm being naive but surely its their job to find out the facts. We were sent some referral information which in fact bore little semblance to who turned up really it was a year out of date! Our child had possibly significant health issues and were kept in the dark about this. We were also not informed that he had a history of failed placements.
We were told in the week before he came that it would be a planned placement with introductory meetings etc so of course we said yes we would take him. However we were then informed that he MUST be placed now, and that the agency more or less couldn't say no in order not to disappoint social services (their customer in effect). A great deal of pressure was placed on us by the agency management team to take this child - we would be letting them down by not taking him sooner than we had planned. No one from social services or the agency contacted us to see how we were getting during the first few days with him bearing in mind this was our first placement. In fact we found support from the professionals woeful.
We realise that placements can be challenging but is all this normal???
We are seriously considering moving to another agency or LA due to our poor experience.
There was lots more poor practice from those in authority but I won't say any more than that. Overall we felt we had done our best but feel deflated that others didn't step up to the mark.
I'm with the LA and have been well looked after and have a lot of info and contact during a placement. Agency placements do tend to be children they can't place in house (with in the la) due to greater needs. It is important to feel support with the children we care for.
I would have expected your agency to support you especially in your first placement. However, we have taken any information provided by the child's social worker and placing team with a pinch of salt over the years. For example a child who was described as loving animals in fact tormented and hurt our animals and on several occasions we have had children placed with us who have sexually abused other children and we were not told before placement.
The agency wouldn't be bothered about 'disappointing' the LA. They would have been desperate to get the child because LAs pay agencies thousands of pounds to take children they can't place with LA carers. Often, but not always, these children are placed with the agency because they have lots of issues and the LA can't find a carer who is willing or able to cope with the child. I would hazard a guess that the agency knew a bit more about the child than they let on to you as they wouldn't want you to say no. Though I could be wrong.
Most agencies are given referrals with various degrees of information. It would be easy to blame the agency for not passing this on to you but you also have to consider the LA did not share with the Agency. I run an IFA and know that we often do not get all the information or it is out of date. Our job is to ask more questions at the point of referral to protect the carers.
The comment about IFA's getting thousands of pounds is just not helpful here in this discussion.
My view would be to challenge this with your agency and request a meeting with your SSW and manager to discuss further.
As an agency carer I have found that info is usually provided when child is dropped off by their social worker.
The info provided by agency has mostly been where the school is , any medical diagnosis that they know of and why the child needs placing.
I have found that it has taken a while to find out full back history and it is provided in dribs and drabs by all people involved in the care of the child.
One comment that bothered me above was
Sorry posted to soon!
Children are placed with agency carers if LA carers are unable or unwilling to care for them.
Surely then there is a need for agency carers or where would these children go?
I am speaking as a carer who had a child placed for a few weeks only to have them removed to be placed with a experienced LA carer.
We had a phone call a few weeks later to see if we would have child back as carer could not cope with the child's behaviours. The child was 4.
Of course we said yes.
Five years on they are still with us but now diagnosed ADHD and ASD.
Yes Cassimin, I wasn't suggesting there isn't a need. Personally I find it sad how easily some LA carers give up on a child. A friend of mine (an LA carer) had a placement of 2 children aged 2 and 4. They had been in care about a year and she was their fifth carer, purely because others couldn't cope. How sad is that? Lovely children too. Yes, hard work, but most 2 and 4 year olds are! I suppose if she hadn't been able to cope the next step might have been an agency.
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