Advice needed quickly please, foster child has stolen money....

(45 Posts)
Gymbob Fri 26-Oct-12 22:50:39

My husband noticed that £80 had been taken from a wad of £500 we had stashed. This morning I noticed that FD was holding on to her purse rather a lot, and carrying it all around the house with her, so while she was in the shower tonight I looked in it, and there was £75 and a couple of pounds in change. I know she had no money.

I've left it in her purse for now and not said anything while I figure out the best course of action.

Do I take the money, and leave an IOU, do I just take the money, do I leave it. Do I confront her? Trouble is she is going out tomorrow afternoon with friends. It's our money and we want it back, if we leave it there it will be gone by tomorrow evening.

Obviously this will be dealt with through the proper channels come Monday, but until I talk to the SW what would you do?

Any advice at all would really be appreciated.

MrsPnut Fri 26-Oct-12 22:52:05

I would take it out, if she comes to you to ask you where it's gone then you will have to deal with it then.

I'd bet she says nothing though.

Gymbob Fri 26-Oct-12 22:56:30

Blimey that was quick, thank you for your opinion MrsP. That's what I'm tempted to do....but she's in bed now and I won't be able to get it without her knowing until the morning xx

scottishmummy Fri 26-Oct-12 23:04:12

take tithe cash back.tell hr you've done so.ask why she had that amount of cash on her
be prepared for tears,denials and a hard time id try get to the whys of it
and plan how to move on and manage this

ChristmasKate Fri 26-Oct-12 23:09:22

I would also take it from her purse and then deal out with the fall out if there is one which I doubt very much.

How old is she?

I remember being 13 and finding a big wad of cash in my dads wardrobe, I was nicking a jumper to wear along with one of my mums necklaces (I was never bought new clothes so I pinched theirs)

I honestly thought they wouldn't notice £50 missing is such a big amount of notes (it was probably £500) I was wrong but just wanted to buy something's.

My mum took me into the dining room and told me she was missing £50 and if it was put on her bed nothing more would be said.

I put it on her pillow.

Gymbob Fri 26-Oct-12 23:33:20

Kate, she is actually 13 tomorrow. I am very aware that if I confront her I will ruin her birthday, even if I take it out of her purse she will sweat for the day, but I don't think I have much choice really....

If it were my own DD that had taken the money I could maybe do what your mum did, but as it is a FC I have to treat it differently for her sake. She is beginning to make the same mistakes her older brother has (he is in a different town) and that would be tragic. I wonder if I could get the police to come and talk to her....will see on Monday

Gymbob Fri 26-Oct-12 23:35:50

Thanks Scottishmummy, we've already had tears tonight over an unrelated matter xx

bonnieslilsister Fri 26-Oct-12 23:38:03

Did she go rooting for the money or was it somewhere she could have come across it? I wouldn't be too harsh with her so long as you get it back but make sure she knows if she does it again there will be big trouble smile I agree with christmaskate she probably saw the huge wad and thought it would never be missed I might have done the same at 13

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 00:03:38

Thanks bonnieslilsister. Even tho it was well out of the way, DD has a stash in the same place (ok, big mistake), so she's maybe seen DD either putting money in or taking it out.

What do you think tho about getting the police to have a 'chat' with her?

bonnieslilsister Sat 27-Oct-12 09:15:47

For me it would depend on how genuinely sorry she was. I would be inclined to let her off this time with an explanation why she mustn't do that but you know her so well. If you think she would do this again maybe someone from the local police might be a good idea. It would be better for the future though if she decided not to do it again because she understood it hurt/upset you rather than she was intimidated.

Iggly Sat 27-Oct-12 09:18:14

Why do you need to treat her differently? You need to act as soon as you know and speak to the SW on Monday. She needs to know her boundaries.

I say this as a someone who was in long term foster care BTW.

Iggly Sat 27-Oct-12 09:19:43

Just read about your DD having a stash. Why does she have one? Maybe your foster child feels like she's treated differently and resents it (I did and still feel bitter even though as an adult I understand why).

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 10:41:43

She only has a stash as it was her birthday 2 weeks ago, and I haven't been to the bank yet. It is FD's birthday today, so she will have a stash today, then i will go to the bank with whatever they want to put away.

I have taken the money out of her purse this morning, but not said anything. As I said it's her birthday so we will have to leave things for today, she has a party later on and sleepover etc. I'm sure she'll discover the money is gone at some point today, but I can't risk her spending it later today.

I'm actually gutted at what she has done, not angry just really upset that she could do that to us sad

Iggly Sat 27-Oct-12 10:47:55

I would say something. It is your money and she should know how disappointed you are. I feel sad for you

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 11:40:08

Thanks Iggly, hubby and me have decided to speak to her tomorrow after her friend has gone home, then I'll talk to the SW on Monday.

She has just gone upstairs with her birthday money, and I suspect she will have gone to put it with the remaining £75....she is very quiet now so I don't know whether she has discovered the money has gone yet, I expect her mood to change when she finds out.

She has apparently told her friends to bring some money today for the arcade after the party....I think that's where our money was going....she must have been going to splash the cash sad

Fosterangel Sat 27-Oct-12 14:23:21

You will need to let the child's SW know as theft is a big thing. You are dealing with the matter so her SW can see that you acted best to help the child and gave her a chance to explain.

She is quite young so it may be a case of impressing her mates or it could be she was being bullied into paying for a session at the arcade so she could be the victim here. Only you will know after speaking to her. If you are certain it is your money then I would take it back in the way you have, quietly and then wait until the dust settles from her party to speak to her.

I would buy a safe (we paid about £30 from Robert Dyas a few years ago). I often have bits and bobs for my own bc's in there and also the foster children's important docs (birth certificates) and it just gives peace of mind.

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 17:06:41

A safe! What a good idea fosterangel. I think that will be the way to go, I hadn't thought of that.

Knowing my fd as I do, I think she's out to impress, she is always out to impress.

I must say I am finding today a struggle, having to behave normally when all the time she has fleeced us. I can't wait for tomorrow so we can speak to her about it.

They are all out now at the party, so I have been up and checked her purse. It has been moved, and left open, so she has obviously discovered that someone has 'stolen' £75 from her. Of course she hasn't mentioned it, but on the way to the party, I would have bet my bottom dollar she didn't yet know, as her behaviour was perfectly normal and she was as chatty as ever.

Her acting skills are better than I thought they were sad

NanaNina Sat 27-Oct-12 19:33:50

Think you have had some really helpful replies. Only thing I would add is don't ask her IF she took the money because she will probably deny it. Just say you know she took it and ask if there was a reason, though she probably won't know. Agree that she might be envious of seeing your DD with a stash of money, or just have a feeling of "not having enough" (don't mean money) but love and care from her parents - this isn't a conscious emotion of course.

Agree not to leave any money lying around - it's too much temptation. You also need to let the sw know too. It's really very common for chldren in foster care to steal money. You sound like very level headed foster carers who are not over reacting but nonetheless concerned about this incident.

Iggly Sat 27-Oct-12 20:41:54

I hope it all works out.

I had some ups and downs with my foster carers but I felt the utmost respect for them and now they still have such a special space in my heart.

Fosterangel Sat 27-Oct-12 21:28:37

Gymbob - I do hope it goes well for you when you speak to her about the money.

All credit to you for being so patient and not spoiling her birthday celebrations before tackling her about taking your cash. Seems to me you care about guiding her in the right direction.

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 22:56:27

Oh, thanks to you Nana, Iggly and Foster for your kind comments. Yes, I do care about doing the right thing.

Nana, we don't ask if she has done stuff, cos of course, she never has, even when backed into a corner she would deny black was white.

Latest development....as mentioned, we have left it as it's her birthday today, but a couple of hours ago, she came downstairs with her friend (birthday sleepover) and said she had something serious to tell us. Her friend had given our FD £60 (bearing in mind I retrieved £75 from her purse) to look after at school yesterday as the friend didn't have a purse. She said that she went to get it before the party to give it back to her, but it had gone. Blimey I said, you have had £60 stolen from your purse this afternoon, and you have only just thought to mention it now (9pm). FD said she forgot. The friend said they would go and have another look in FD's bedroom. I said that I would speak to her friend's mum and dad about the missing money first thing in the morning. Off they went into FD's room to have another look for the money.

Ten minutes later they were back downstairs, and the friend said, 'Did you know that I was acting a part from RAMDA (?) before. I said no I didn't, she said 'Did you think I was good?', I said 'Very good'. They burst out laughing and FD said 'Did you believe us?' I asked FD if there was any money missing at all from her purse and she laughed 'No!'.

Her mood has changed now and she is very subdued, sad for her as it is her birthday, but obviously desperate measures are now in place. If it wasn't her birthday today it would have been dealt with.

I feel so sad for her, and me, and my hubby, who says he couldn't care less about the money, he just wants her to be happy.

Roll on tomorrow so we can talk, and Monday so i can talk to the SW.....thanks all for your helpful replies...xxxx

bonnieslilsister Sat 27-Oct-12 23:13:07

Will you reassure her tomorrow Gymbob? (My heart is breaking for her) She might be worried about what happens now i.e will she stay with you? I think she didn't realise quite what she was doing. Hopefully she has learned her lesson and will never do anything like that again smile

Gymbob Sat 27-Oct-12 23:50:58

Hi Bonnie, she has been back downstairs a while ago to talk to me. She had obviously resigned herself to her fate. I told her that I didn't want to talk to her tonight, and to go back upstairs and be with her friend. She became very upset and said she was scared. She said she was doing it to buy clothes, but she already knew that I would question where she had got the money from to buy whatever it was she brought home, so she was already sweating about it.

I have reasurred her that she won't be going to live somewhere else, but we will need to talk some more. There were no raised voices, but she was crying. I didn't want to do this on her birthday.

To muddy the waters further, FD said that she has only being stealing because our DD showed her where to get it from, and that it's ok because she has been doing it for ages and not been caught! Bloody hell!

We shall be speaking with them both tomorrow. Hubby says it's ok because we still have a home and can pay our bills, it's really no big deal. He is very pragmatic about the whole thing as apparently he stole from his parents when he was a child too blush

ChristmasKate Sat 27-Oct-12 23:59:37

Me again. I used to steal from my parents at this age all the time, I'm now a sensible adult that really does know right from wrong smile

I would deal with DSD seperatly to what she said your DD said, it can't be big amounts if you haven't noticed. We used to steal from the penny jar daily and also from my dads coat pocket, I wasn't a popular child and desperately wanted friends etc. I had no concept of money at that age.

I hope it all works out for you all.

bonnieslilsister Sun 28-Oct-12 00:08:38

That's great Gymbob smile she now knows she wont get away with it anymore. It has been a great learning experience for her. It is great also she can talk to you. You have been so kind to her, not wanting to spoil her birthday (even if it was her that was spoiling it, not you)

Your dh is right the world is still going round and it is not such a big deal in the big scheme of things but the important thing is you nip this in the bud without her feeling bad about herself. Were you surprised by your dd? Do you plan for fc to pay anything back? Bit difficult when you dont know how much has gone.

About the safe ... I might be a lone voice here but if you just have fd and no others I personally would prefer to be sending the message you trust her rather than you have to lock everything away cos you dont trust her.

I think that it's different to a certain extent when you have foster teens coming and going but with a long term fc I would want to be building up responsibility and trust.

Best of luck x

Viperidae Sun 28-Oct-12 00:18:53

This is really difficult because you don't know if it is true that your DD has been taking money too or if that is just a smokescreen.

Although it isn't the end of the world I would be inclined to get a safe, lock stuff away from now on and give them both a stern talking to regaring the importance of trust and honesty.

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 00:29:23

Hmm I was in care but the places where I lived no money would have been left out ie it would be in the fp locked bedroom or another house was a locked safe. I did use to steal off my mum and nan but that was fag or cider money not big amounts ( and I never got caught thank god) am not a thief now.

I know everyone has said how nice it is you never mentioned it but I actually think that was quite cruel. I expect she was sweating about it since it went missing and torturing herself why she did it. Better if you had said I've took my money back I'm not happy about it but this time we'l let it slide. It's really hard being a looked after kid in someone else's home I will never forget turning up at strangers houses with my blackbags of stuff and after the paperwork social worker goes and your stuck there wondering if you can have a drink. Urgh horrible no matter how nice the people were ( or not in all but 2 of the foster placements I was in)

bonnieslilsister Sun 28-Oct-12 00:34:39

Sorry gymbob did fc say your dd had been doing it for yrs and never been caught or was it fd?

bonnieslilsister Sun 28-Oct-12 00:39:23

Inneedofbrandy I can't begin to think how hard that must have been sad

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 00:54:27

Yes it was but I was a right brat back then so feel quite sorry for what I put the nice ones through. The feeling of not belonging/ being part of the family is the worst, you watch everyone laughing and chatting but know you don't belong. The first fh I went to we weren't even allowed in the living room, but I dont want to hijack thread!

Do you give her a clothing allowance OP? Maybe she needs bras or something personal she doesn't feel she can ask for?

Gymbob Sun 28-Oct-12 13:44:42

Hi all thanks for your comments, it seems one or two of us did the same when we were children. I can't acutally remember stealing from my parents, although i'm sure i probably did - I was a horrid teenager with a strict father trying but failing to control me.

We still haven't been able to talk to the girls, as the sleepover children are still here, but we will do so later on. FD is happy this morning.

Inneedofbrandy - sorry if you think I have been cruel. It was so unfortunate that she noticed the money had been taken back on her birthday. I couldn't risk her spending the £75, and I didn't know how else to do it, as i said it would have been dealt with straight away if it wasn't for the fact it was her birthday. Of course I make mistakes and maybe that was one of them, but I did have honourable intentions. FD gets pocket money and the opportunity to earn extra if she wants to. She earned herself over £80 during the summer holidays doing jobs for me, but she isn't interested in doing anything just lately as she can't be bothered. She does ask for innappropriate clothing that I refust to buy, so once or twice she has been out herself and bought it with her own money. I'm sorry too that you had such a rough time yourself.

Bonnie - yes I'm surprised about my DD, and it has possibly been going on for years, rather stupidly in hindsight we trusted them with lots of cash hanging about. FD told me a couple of things last night about DD taking money
that will be true, but she will get chance to explain. We work with cash, so have a lot in the house at any one time. We maybe should have had a safe all along, but hubby has been out this morning and bought a cash box and a couple of locks for our bedside tables.

They won't be asked to pay anything back, but I'm sure we will never find out how much they took between them anyway. It will probably run into the hundreds I should think.

The friends are leaving soon, so we will be sitting down with them for a chat. I'm sure there will be some revelations as they try to drop each other in it like they usually do, but I'll come back later and update.

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 14:15:27

Oh see I always had a clothing allowance of £1 a day and any extras I needed like name brand trainers were out of my £100 Christmas and birthday money allowance. It was always up to me what clothing I had to.

I do think it was horrible to let her sweat but I do see you were doing it not to ruin her birthday. I think the cash box is a really good idea although any money that went missing if you don't have one would surely be replaced by SW?

NanaNina Sun 28-Oct-12 16:17:14

Inneedofbrandy It's so rare that we get to hear from an adult who was fostered. How about starting a thread of your own about your experiences. Just a thought.......

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 28-Oct-12 16:37:54

Inneedofbrandy - I'll never forget that either. I still have that feeling of not belonging, and I second everything you said. It's odd to have someone who knows how that feels - I don't think its imaginable unless you've been through it yourself.

Gymbob - I hope your chat goes well. I think FD will understand why you didn't mention it to her, and hopefully she'll have learnt from this. You sound like a good FM - I wish I'd had someone as caring as you.

NanaNina Sun 28-Oct-12 16:41:33

Come on Inneedofbrandy and CajaDeLaMemoria there are 2 of you now, so it would be so good if you could start a thread and maybe that will draw in other adults who were fostered and it's not often we get to hear from people who went through the fostering system when they were children.

Fosterangel Sun 28-Oct-12 16:49:17

Inneedofbrandy - you have given me something to think about. Thanks for waking me up to how

Eerm...... have to 'fess up about the safe thing. It is actually not to keep money safe from foster or birth children (but we do keep cash in it). We bought a safe to keep important docs like passports, driving licences, birth certificates (ours and the foster teens) in one safe place. My filing system is rubbish and we could never find anything. Everyone uses it and it has been invaluable

Fosterangel Sun 28-Oct-12 16:51:56

Oops. Posted too soon. Meant to say thanks for waking me up to how even when you as a foster carer believe your foster children feel "at home" we do need to check in with them sometimes. Thanks. I will be doing that this half-term!

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 17:22:57

I will when I get chance to get on the computer not iPod, my fingers are to fat for long posts!

Caja it was the worst feeling ever right, I found it much easier to be horrible and keep myself from belonging then try to fit in.

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 21:02:08

Did it Nina!

I don't think the op was intentionally cruel.

Hope you managed to have your chat with the girls today op. And I am so glad to see you reassure her that she wouldn't be going to live somewhere else. The threat of that as a fc is always the worst feeling.

bonnieslilsister Sun 28-Oct-12 22:07:25

How did it go Gymbob? Have been thinking of you today.

Have some thanks to cheer you up

Gymbob Sun 28-Oct-12 23:36:52

Hi Bonnie, thanks for the flowers.

Well we have had stern words, listened to them, and cleared the air. We have said that is the end of the matter, and as it has been put to bed it will not be dragged up again. We all know where we stand, and we all know what is expected of us.

There were tears of course (lots of mine too). FD was more upfront that DD, although she didn't have much choice as she was more or less caught red-handed. DD on the other hand, would only admit to helping herself once, she gave a reason (that I had asked them both to pay for something they thought was unfair, and instead of saying so, DD took the money back herself from my stash). We suspect DD is not telling the truth and that she has taken much more than the £10 she admitted to.

We told them we now have a cashbox, and FD was relieved saying that knowing there was money around was a temptation so the cashbox would remove it, and could we please keep it after trust has been restored.

FD was offering punishments for herself to us, which we have declined. She has been clucking round me all evening trying to make it right. She knows full well I will have to share with her SW, and is devastated knowing she will lose face.

Inneedofbrandy and caja - i hope she feels like she belongs, i think she does but you have made me want to reinforce that with her.

Oh, one more thing I hardly dare tell you all.... I am horrified that last night with all the shenanigans i left my computer for a few mins mid post, and FD slipped into the empty room and read this thread. I am always so careful, with passwords, and a screensaver that cuts in after seconds, but the events of the night obviously caught me out blush blush blush

NanaNina Sun 28-Oct-12 23:41:15

InneedofBrandy well done you! I will watch it with interest

bonnieslilsister Mon 29-Oct-12 00:13:04

Whoops Gymbob, well just shows you shouldn't read other peoples messages! She has learned a few lessons this weekend grin

Inneedofbrandy Mon 29-Oct-12 00:17:54

No don;t watch join in. grin

Big whoops OP I expect it made her feel awful (in a good way) how upset you were and I don't think you will have any more of these type problems from her.

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