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Foster carer contact

(22 Posts)
winewhine Tue 19-Jul-16 20:03:00

Hi, frequent name changer, here. Could I please ask, how soon after placement did people meet up with foster carers again? And what age child was that? And how far away were FC?

Thank you.

Mrscollydog Tue 19-Jul-16 21:37:31

We literally just did this 5 months after placement, AD 22 months, FC about 45 miles away so we met in the middle. I was terrified but it was good, seemed to help AD rather than cause a problem.

winewhine Tue 19-Jul-16 21:50:28

And how did 5 months feel?

We're being asked to commit to when our meeting will be, without having yet met LO. I'm nervous of committing to a timescale before I know how LO is settling, and can judge how things will go. We're talking about ten times the distance for us, with no way of meeting half way.

winewhine Tue 19-Jul-16 21:50:56

Did everyone meet on neutral ground, or does it tend to be FC's house?

Italiangreyhound Tue 19-Jul-16 22:14:27

We met after one month at social workers suggestion. DS was three and foster carer was about half an hour or 45 mins away. We met on neutral ground and continue to meet up about twice a year. Really more for me and for ds when he is older. He is not too fussed now, he has been with us over 2 years.

We really like foster carer, she is wonderful.

If you can do it, I think it is worth it. Just make sure little one knows you will be meeting up with foster carer. Unless they are a small baby, they may well understand even if pre-verbal.

Good luck

Mrscollydog Tue 19-Jul-16 22:17:29

It felt too.soon before we went but actually it was OK. We agreed before we met our daughter to.at least 6 weeks before we met up but then just kept pushing it back. I kept in touch through whatsapp messages and photos as I got on v well with the FC. I do think it has been a positive experience now, in the run up to it I would have said different. The advice we were given is to keep the venue neutral, we went to a park where there was loads of distractions for LO which kept the intensity of the encounter to a minimum. The distance you are talking about is tough. I wonder if you could consider other ways of maintaining contact like Skype. At 5 months in am not sure how LO would have taken to a 450 mile Journey and not returning home after the meeting.

tinks269 Tue 19-Jul-16 22:26:51

We have agreed to 4 months and our son is 7. FC lives around 250 miles away and we will be travelling up to meet. Although I'm not keen on it being at FCs house and tbh I think that would freak our son out. We will see what he feels nearer the time.

jingscrivenshelpmaboab Tue 19-Jul-16 23:05:12

FCs came to our house the day after placement and the following weekend (this was planned by SWs), and then we established a routine of meeting up on neutral ground (approx 1 hours drive away) every 4 months or so. We had a very bumpy start to the placement and no idea whether FC visits made things better or worse - the argument put forward by SWs was that it was important for DS to know that not all adults disappeared from his life. He was 5 when placed, and now he's almost 7 he looks forward to meeting up with FCs, albeit less so than in the early days, and the adults all enjoy it too.

winewhine Tue 19-Jul-16 23:09:45

We've been told it has to be 4 months, at FC house. That distance is there and back. But it's certainly no day trip!

I just want flexibility built in, to allow me to see how LO is.

tldr Tue 19-Jul-16 23:30:16

Agree for now and, if need be, withdraw agreement post-placement. Once child is placed you will know whether or not it's a good idea/too soon/anything else and if placement is going well you will be the person who knows child best so everyone else should respect that.

You'll likely find people listen to you much more readily post-placement.

And, tbh, you'll be genuinely, properly and really thinking about it from your child's perspective then, which you simply can't do right now.

Just about all our post-placement plans changed post-placement. I'd be more worried if they didn't tbh.

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Jul-16 03:13:24

winewhine re "We've been told it has to be 4 months, at FC house. That distance is there and back. But it's certainly no day trip!" I think four months sounds fine. Not too soon and not too distant.

Agree with tldr, just agree and review when dc is home.

Not sure why it needs to be foster carers home. That sounds daft, I would prefer a neutral spot. Can you research cafe's, child friendly pubs or soft play places in the area and suggest to foster carer a different location nearer the time?

Our ds's foster carer did come to our house, after quite a while (10 months), I was nervous but ds actually wanted her to come, and it was fine. Being at our house I could control what we did etc (eat and open Christmas presents) but she could control how long she stayed.

We have never been back to foster carer's house, but I would be open to it one day, because ds does feel very settled and I am not sure it would be an issue, but who knows!

Can you afford a night in a hotel when you go, to break up journey?

Can you afford a night in a hotel after three months, not too far away?

If your child is very young I would not worry too much, if they were two or three or more I'd try and set a president that a trip far away won't always result in seeing foster family.

In your shoes, if I could afford it I would take a night in a hotel not too far away about a month before the visit and do something fun like a zoo trip or a beach trip. Then make the visit to foster carer fun by going somewhere nice before or afterwards. Luckily, kids are easily pleased, mine like a ride on the machines outside the supermarket! (The Noddy car etc!) Or they did when younger.

I'd also try and make the hotel overnight of the visit before you see foster carer so that you travel straight back to home afterwards.

Try and have some familiar things with you. Same bedding, not washed before visit. Some nice lullabies you can play at home and then in the car. I'd do this so that these nice things are 'normal' and then part of the trip, rather than having special music CDs or whatever for the first time journey, or little one might associate the visiting foster carer with that music.

I know it sounds a bit OTT but I really associate things together. EG when I was going through a rough patch at work I carried my work items in a green bag, the sight of a green bag made me think of work and feel a bit miserable! Now work is good, I use a brown bag and when I see another brown bag I don't think of work or anything special at all. Does that make sense?

All the best.

RatherBeIndoors Wed 20-Jul-16 12:06:44

Yes, nod and smile for now, none of it will be enforceable smile We did it at six weeks, with a 2 year old, at our house (very important to either be on your turf or somewhere neutral IMO, to avoid any fear of being "taken back"), and the FCs lived about an hour away. |The timing was about right for us. It is an important, but a difficult, thing to navigate, and it's almost impossible to judge before you've even met your child. It's not worth getting into hassle over now though - you will make the right decision when it's time. Good luck!

marmalade999 Wed 20-Jul-16 14:29:45

we met 5 weeks after placement.
it was agreed before we met LOL. she was 20 months. they live 40 miles away. I was worried about it but it was fine. we meet every 3 or so months. we are very different people but we are committed to them being given part of loss life from a distance . they had her from birth til adoption and for us it feels right to do it so lo knows she was loved etc all that time.
I know everyone is different.
If I were you I would arrange the meeting with fc for post placement and if you feel it's not right nearer the time you can cancel/postpone.
I would be cautious about refusing to meet them at this stage

good luck x

Kr1stina Wed 20-Jul-16 16:52:43

Definitely do NOT go to Fc house, it could be very upsetting for the child. There may be another child there now, certainly their room will look different . The child may think they are being taken back .

If it can't be on neutral ground, then the Fc should come to your home .

The visit is supposed to be for the child, so they can travel not the child, if you can't meet half way .

I can't imagine any good reaosn why you can't do so . There are no two place in the Uk which are 200 miles apart and have nothing in between. If the FC can't drive you can meet up at a place near you which is accessible for public Transport.

I suspect the reason is nothing to do with the child but is because the LA concerned won't pay for travel out with their area m so they are trying to out all the costs and time onto you and all the distress onto the child. Not very child centered!

I agree that you should say that you will be happy to do whatever is in LO best interest . Then see what you think nearer the time .

dimples76 Wed 20-Jul-16 20:19:22

When I met my LA's psychologist pre-placement she advised me not to make any agreements/commitments to meet FC. She felt that I needed to judge when it was right for my son (18 months at placement).

As it happens my son's FCs live just over a mile away and we shop at the same supermarket etc. so we saw each other again very soon.

I think as others have suggested that it is reviewed closer to the time. I would have thought having it at FC's home is far from ideal. Although we have seen FCs about 10 times since placement 18 months ago and we have a very good relationship it has never been at their house. To be honest I think I would find it awkward and would worry about my son picking up on that.

winewhine Wed 20-Jul-16 21:38:06

Thank you, it's good to hear opinions from the other side of matching panel!

I will smile and nod. I have no intention of saying no to FC contact, at all. My concern is having to agree to a plan before meeting LO. Once they move in, we want the flexibility, and the LA are making it sound very set in stone- it has to be 4 months. I would prefer to see how LO is. I doubt FC will want to meet half way, due to the other foster children.

winewhine Wed 20-Jul-16 21:39:01

"I'm happy to do whatever is in LO's best interests.' You know what, I may need to use that phrase frequently.

jellyfishschool Wed 20-Jul-16 21:45:02

As well as saying that you are happy to do whatever is in LO's best interest, maybe ask the question, why they specifically want 4 months rather than wait to see how the child is doing? It may be for a specific reason based on their knowledge of the child and the current set up, or a recommendation from another professional involved?

Themoleandcrew Wed 20-Jul-16 21:52:05

We met up around 4 months this time around at a neutral venue. Then I took dd to the fc house for a quick visit as we were close by. (We only live around 20 mins drive apart). We are planning to meet again soon. We get on really well and message each other a lot. Dd was 10 months when she moved. Our other children were older when they moved in (3) and we are planning to meet up with their fc this summer (2.5 years post placement) for the first time as we felt both the fc and our oldest needed more time. Also we had a large amount of stress and time spent on our second adoption which led to some things taking a back seat. We have stayed in contact through email though.

winewhine Wed 20-Jul-16 22:18:54

jellyfishschool - "Because we always do a meeting a 4 months, policy".

There appear to be lots of 'policy' which don't suit our LO. Smile and nod.

MintyLizzy9 Thu 21-Jul-16 20:34:09

6 months in DS was 2.6 FC lives about 8 miles away.

It was a couple of weeks ago and we're still dealing with the fallout (I started a thread asking how to help him).

He enjoyed seeing them but I have no idea if he remembered them as such but clearly remembers something given his reaction the following day.

I still don't know if it was too soon or not soon enough. Can you commit to considering it 3 months in depending on how well DC have settled?

If I had my time again I really don't know if I'd ever meet them or do it within a month. Whatever you agree to go with your gut when the time comes. Don't feel like you 'have to' regardless of SS, you will know your child best X

slkk Thu 21-Jul-16 22:27:38

We haven't met up with ds's fc and he has been with us for 2 years now. We had such behaviour problems from the beginning of introductions and he was such a distressed child. His psychologist kept saying that he wasn't ready and then it felt too late. I have mentioned it to fc a few times recently, but she hasn't responded. It was also felt that his fc placement was perhaps lacking in boundaries etc. He was 3 1/2 at placement but with severe language delay and learning difficulties. He still has no concept of his life story.

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