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Contact with Foster carer

(28 Posts)
luckylucky24 Wed 23-Nov-16 17:31:51

How much contact is normal after placement? For the first week or two we text every other day(ish). Sent pics etc. This has dwindled to every 7-10 days since we met up 3 weeks ago. We plan to meet again around xmas time as FC still has memory box and pics etc. FC always seems to appreciate texts and pics but I don't know whether I should be reducing contact?

Long term we want to keep in touch so how much contact is "normal"?

MintyLizzy9 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:01:00

Hi

I would say it totally depends on DC age and relationship with FC and how long they lived with them.

My DC came to me just before his second birthday and had been with his FC for five months, early days we emailed around once a month with pics and almost a year on we have met up twice with no plans to meet up again. Last meeting was recent so I will send some pics over at Xmas then maybe once or twice a year after that. DS didn't cope well after the first meeting, took weeks to get back on track and it was a difficult time, second time he didn't even register them (lots of people around) and no obvious fall out for him afterwards. We have looked at pictures together and he shows no signs of knowing them which is why I'm not planning another meet up. If he was older and remembered them then it may be a different story.

Everyone is different though but this I feel this is best for DS.

luckylucky24 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:06:39

Thanks. DD is only 1 but was with them for 11 months and has been with us less than 2 months so far. I think I will see how the next meeting goes and maybe ask for an email address. Texting seems so personal.

ficklesticklebricks Wed 23-Nov-16 20:42:28

I find it hard, because I don't feel our FC did as good a job as everyone (the LA) tells me she did. They say she's 'the best'- I wouldn't like to see the rest! She loved him, and clothed him, and fed him, but babies do need more than that.

So, I find the forced "Oh, I'm so grateful for all you did!" I feel pushed in to in every conversation, and that she talks about him like she knows him so well (he's a completely different baby to the one she talks about!), Ifind it really hard. I've texted a few times, sent some photos, and phoned once. DS has been home 4 months. She still has all his early photos, I have no memory box/book or anything sentimental of his life with them. She refused to give me a photo of her.

I find it hard. I know I have to be the adult,and put my emotions aside for DS. However, I remember something I read in a book- DS already has 2 mums, me and his birth mum. He only has 2 mums. And it can be important for him to know that. While a kind person looked after him between his two mums, it's the two mums that will be the main anchor for rationalising his identity.

I think sometimes adopters are expected to be emotion free superhumans. I'm not one.

conserveisposhforjam Thu 24-Nov-16 16:41:33

I could have written your post ficklesticklebricks. I think foster care is SO variable in quality and I can't see any evidence that fcs are expected to understand or practice any kind of attachments focused parenting which is completely nuts!

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Nov-16 16:48:45

luckylucky24 no idea what is normal but ours sort of went:
Once in a month straight after placement.
Two to three months later
Four to six months later

Then settled at about once eery six months, which in the long run, after three years will probably land up being annually.

Texts and photos as and when, maybe once every six months.

An email update about twice a year.

This is because:
The foster carer was excellent, did an amazing job and really loved our son.
I felt it would beneficial for our son
It is not hard to do as foster carer does not live too far away and is super nice.

This has worked for us, two and a half years in. It really feels at the moment it is for mine and foster carers benefit but if ds wants foster carer at his wedding or wants to know anything in the future, we will (I hope) still be in touch so it will work out well for him too. At moment he is not too bothered!

luckylucky24 Thu 24-Nov-16 18:00:44

Thanks Italian. Our FC has been great and very helpful. She was with her from 4 weeks old so will be the only one with answers to baby questions that may come u in future so I would like to maintain a relationship but I do not want to be overbearing.

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Nov-16 20:27:57

I think it takes time to work it out, really a person should not be too offended by a few texts and photos and if you can suggest meeting up, she may jump at the chance. But even if she would prefer not to meet up (can' imagine it myself but there you go) email or text contact is still helpful.

Moominmammaatsea Thu 24-Nov-16 23:22:07

To be fair, poshconserve, the majority of foster carers are more - and better - trained in attachment than the average four-months-to-panel prospective adopters these days. I write as an experienced adopter (eight years into my journey with a complex needs child) AND, subsequently, a foster carer. The thing is, the system, which is totally obsessed with 'safer' caring, predicates almost totally against us building attachments/bonds (no co-sleeping, no skin-to-skin, no (innocent) cuddles in bed, no tickling: our homes are 'invaded' at regular intervals by our supervising social workers, by the child's social worker/s, by the independent reviewing officers (mine and theirs), by the CAFCASS legal guardians, and looked-after children's health visitors, and that's without any external intervention, such as portage or therapeutic services, and the obligatory six-monthly full medicals.

And then we have to drive our much-loved children looked after (yes, the most ridiculously unwieldy term ever, but that's how the powers-that-be insist we refer to the children we invite into our homes and hearts) many miles a day to contact with birth parents, who may or may not turn up, who may or may not bring their second cousin three times removed's ex-girlfriend's former dog walker, and have the session supervised by one of 10 rotating supervising contact workers, depending on the rotas for that week. And then those contacts could be supervised by the child's social worker, who doesn't really know them, because they're the tenth in the past year (high churn rate in local authorities), plus the legal guardian, who has to come once in a blue moon in order to pretend that they actually know the child and contribute to reports for ongoing legal proceedings.

Seriously, I would love to blow more bubbles and all the other attachment-building activities recommended by the likes of Margot Sunderland, Bryan Post, Dan Siegel, Dan Hughes et al, but I'm too busy being exploited as a zero hours taxi driver and forced to drive my adored fosterling 24-miles-a-day through rush hour traffic (timings to suit parents) for a two-hour contact session (see details about the quantity and quality of folk in and out of these sessions), and then the journey in reverse. Meanwhile, my gorgeous baba's peers are benefiting from the unquestionable advantages of rhyme-time sessions, playgroups, baby signing sessions and stay-and-play activities.

The baby I have in placement currently has been confirmed to have plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, no doubt as a consequence of the many, many hours of travelling in my car to contact she has been forced to endure since she was two-days-old. I DREAM of the opportunity to funnel as a foster carer...

Italiangreyhound Fri 25-Nov-16 00:11:33

Moomin that sounds so tough. sad I am so sorry that this is the way things are

I know my son's foster carer took him to contact and it must have been stressful, she had birth children and other children in her care. She has gone on to foster many others and I think she was a total beacon of hope and light in my son's life.

Please do not be disheartened, what you do is amazing. XX

ficklesticklebricks Fri 25-Nov-16 13:19:33

moomin that sounds very hard, and I know DS's FC struggled taking him all over the place for contact etc.

However, for DS, contact had stopped a long time before. I'm sure the FC was busy, DS was not her only foster child. DS was an 'easy baby'- as I said, he was loved, and fed, and clothed. That isn't all a baby needs. My DS has plaigiocephaly, this cannot be due to driving to contact. It is rounding out after the short time he has been home, and we live in the country, so he still has time in the car seat.

I don't think FCs do have as good a training in attachment as they might, I know our FC was not the only one doing CIO of some sort. More 'experienced' FC may be prone to nodding along at the training, and doing what they've always done.

I'm sure you're a great FC, Moomin, and it's frustrating the demands that are put on you by SS. However, I feel I'm forced into worshiping the FC, and cannot say the slightest thing that could be a criticism, as she is the 'best FC around'. It makes me feel that the LA have low standards and expectations for these kids, just because they're LAC. I doubt any of them would think this was ok for their own kids, which is my perspective, because for adopters, FC aren't looking after LAC kids, they're looking after our very own kids. If DS's FC was a childminder, OFSTED would not pass her, and I wouldn't think it was good enough. FC do not appear to be held to the same standards as childminders, and I think they should be (probably with greater financial support for that, too!)

luckylucky24 Fri 25-Nov-16 19:08:11

DD has a flat head too despite sleeping on her tummy and not spending alot of time in a carseat. As far as I know it was about 30-40 mins 5x a week.

Moominmammaatsea Fri 25-Nov-16 20:28:21

Hi fickle (apologies, reasonably sporadic poster, although avid reader, and I don't know how to do the bold-ing thing), I hear your frustrations and I'm not setting myself as THE defender of all foster carers, because, undoubtedly, there will be some bad eggs, as there are in every career and walk of life. An important thing for us all to remember, though, is that foster caring is a low-status, low-paid profession, for example, the lollipop lady who patrols the crossing outside my daughter's school on a part-time basis earns more than I do. I'm not denigrating crossing patrol personnel, by the way, I just want to put things in perspective.

I will stick my head above the parapet to point out the oft-quoted aphorism that most foster carers are in the low-skilled manual classes, and most adopters hail from the professional, highly educated classes (ducking for cover now). Maybe this is why there is such a disconnect of expectations?

ficklesticklebricks Fri 25-Nov-16 20:36:57

I absolutely agree that foster carers are not given the status, nor pay they deserve, when they do their job well.

I suppose it's a circular thing- the job is low status, low expectations, so it attracts those that fulfill those expectations. Pay peanuts...

But it does make 'keeping in touch' (which I why I sort of hijacked the tread, sorry OP) very difficult. The FC loves hearing from the LA how great she is. I struggle to do enough of the expected gratitude, and feel embarrassed about it.

I do think that those from low-skilled manual classes are capable of good parenting, though (and those from professional classes that can be abysmal!), and surely if you choose this as your job, you would want to do it well? Childminding is also low status, low paid, but our FC would never have met expectations for a childminder.

flapjackfairy Fri 25-Nov-16 20:44:21

I am a fc and an adoptor and I have to work to a v high standard and I am constantly monitored one way or another. And any child that has passed through my home has been a full member of the family as far as I am concerned and is loved and treated as such!
We have to be passed by panel every 12 months after a rigorous review process and have a CWDC qualification at least and many of us have more than that( l have an N V Q level 3 myself). We also have extensive attachment training and I have completed the LINE (love is not enough training) to support a child with severe attachment disorder and attended 2 yrs intensive counselling with him.
Perhaps you were unlucky with your fc but there are many of us out there who give our all to these children and do not simply see them as lac. I am sorry you did not get one of the good ones and if you do not want to keep any contact that is absolutely your choice.

flapjackfairy Fri 25-Nov-16 20:52:24

PS fickle dont be embarrassed at lack of fawning over fc. You do not have any obligation to please her.
PPS most of us dont see it as a job.

ficklesticklebricks Fri 25-Nov-16 21:01:57

I feel I do have to please her- she is the only person who could, should she choose, give info on DS's first year. (So far, she is not forthcoming!)

The LA tell me she is 'the best they have', so she is certainly considered by those inspecting to be 'one of the good ones'. But were she a childminder, OFSTED would have short shrift, rightly or wrongly. (I don't think OFSTED are perfect.) I don't think she was a bad FC. Not abusive. But I think perspectives are different from the LA (does the child appear fed, clothed and happy?) to what a parent wants for their child, when assessing the care given.

Moominmammaatsea Fri 25-Nov-16 21:11:24

Yes, of course, good parenting crosses the class divide. That's obvious.

Interestingly, and I assure you I'm not drip-feeding here, but I retrained as a childminder a number of years (don't want to be too specific for obvious outing reasons) after my adopted baby was placed with me, and before my fostering career. Now, I'm a fairly driven individual with high standards, and I 'scored' Outstanding in every area of my first Ofsted inspection. The thing is, my mindees' parents didn't really give a monkey's cuss, they were simply happy for their sons and daughters to be loved and cared for in a safe, clean and appropriately stimulating environment. Similarly, from my observations of fellow minders at various playgroups and community activities, there wasn't much difference in the quality of care offered by those judged Outstanding and those judged Satisfactory (the new Requires Improvement).

I'll be honest, eight years on, it still riles me (ever so slightly) that the gifts featured in the photos of my child's first Christmas at the foster carers never made it to my house when she moved in with me three months later. In the early days, I was consumed with outrage at what I considered to be a demonstrable lack of care and regard, but fast forward from 2008, and the same carers are my daughter's surrogate second set of grandparents and she loves the fact that she can randomly ring them to ask the colour of her first sippy cup.

ficklesticklebricks Fri 25-Nov-16 21:40:58

"in a safe, clean and appropriately stimulating environment." Totally agree- this I think was missing!

Which is nice, because it's made me very relaxed about the state of my housework when SWs come! wink

Italiangreyhound Sat 26-Nov-16 10:29:28

I don't think any adopter should have to fawn over a foster carer. Our son's f2f was brilliant and I have told her that but I Don't tell her every time I see her!

Nannatoo Sun 04-Dec-16 00:25:37

I disagree about foster carers being less educated than adopters. Most foster carers I know are ex teachers ex social workers and I'm an ex scientist. I think in general they come from all walks of life and you will find some are better than others as in all professions. Pay varies enormously depending in what county you live in. I adopted one of my fosterlings and the training given to adopters is minimal compared to that of a foster carer. That said in my opinion emotionally a foster carer cannot 'love' every child in their care like their own or they wouldn't be able to part with them and would end up adopting them all themselves. I couldn't face parting with my little girl with Special needs.

Moominmammaatsea Sun 04-Dec-16 00:35:43

Sorry Nannatoo, I beg to differ: I have a degree from one of the two famous universities that likes rowing, especially in a race that is televised every year (trying not to out myself). In my authority, the majority of foster carers have never worked outside of the home. Let's face it; for a weekly professional fee of approximately £100, why would a teacher or social worker choose to give up a salary of £35-£40k to become a foster carer, especially to endure the type of vitriol that is reserved for foster carers on the adoption board here???

MooseyMouse Sun 04-Dec-16 05:47:57

We've been lucky and have become friends with our child's foster carers. I see them as sort-of in-laws and as the custodians of all the memories of his first year. When we get together they tell funny stories about him that would have been lost otherwise.

This is only possible because they welcomed us as his new parents and have us space to become a family. I think we're really lucky.

conserveisposhforjam Sun 04-Dec-16 13:49:07

I don't have any vitriol for foster carers. I do have quite a bit for my dcs foster mother who was consistently unable to put his needs first in so many ways. And I have a great deal more for the LA who are still using her AFAIK.

I don't know what training she had had. But she didn't know anything about attachment. So either she hadn't had it or she'd disregarded it.

flapjackfairy Sun 04-Dec-16 19:09:00

It is like every thing else... there are good and bad fc and i know a couple of adoptors who i would not trust to take care of a goldfish but i know many good ones as well.
Thats people for you !

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