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Panel today(4 Posts)
Hello, I am usually a mumsnet watcher rather than taking part in forums but today we went to panel and want to get some feedback on whether our experience was a bit odd.
We were informed of our panel date last wednesday - so we had 5 days notice (obviously we were aware that there would come a day when we went to panel). We sorted out a babysitter for our daughter on the day and went to the centre.
When we got there, we were asked to wait in a room - one chair! Panel was running behind but we know this can happen from people's posts on here. Our assessing social worker - an agency - did not show up. I am not sure whether she even knew the date of panel due to the short notice but in any case we were solo, as it were.
The chair came down to talk to us and explained that we would possibly have to be deferred due to a situation with personal references - this was even before we had gone in. She said she had had the paperwork late and didn't know why it hadn't been picked up that one of the references was not a personal reference (one was school and one was a early years worker) -basically an oversight by the assessing social worker and whoever received our Form F at the LA.
We went up to the panel and they asked if we had seen our assessing SW - we assumed she was somewhere else in the building. She wasn't there. Then, it all went through in terms of questions etc. We were then asked to wait in another room and the vice chair came out and said that we were 'provisionally' approved but this was dependent on the decision maker at the top accepting the reference situation or lack thereof. We were told we would not have to come back to panel though.
As the decision was not final, we did not get the chance to ask any questions (we wanted to know if we shoudl start getting baby equipment etc) because they were irrelevant as it wasn't clear whether we were actually going to be accepted or not. Also, the panel was running late and we were told there was another 'item' so basically needed to hurry up.
I can't help but feel it was a bit of a waste of time and actually quite unprofessional. It has obviously left us feeling peeved to say the least and doubtful about the support we will get from the LA as new foster carers.
Any responses would be appreciated - sorry for the long post!
Wow, that does sound odd and very different to our panel experience. I know things probably differ from area to area, but I believe ours would not have gone ahead if ASW wasn't there (which was a possibility as she had been very ill)
I am on my phone so can't type too much, but i'm sure Nananina will be along soon, and she is very knowledgeable.
Sounds very confusing... however, to try and dwell on the positive - all 'approvals' are provisional - they need to be 'ratified' by the head of the department who will read everything that was said and give the final rubber stamp... so it does sound ok albeit very hectic and dis-organised.
It would sow some seeds of doubt in my mind regarding future support - we are with an LA and we had about 2 months notice of our panel date, and it was very smooth if not nerve racking...
I don't think the panel meeting would have been the right place to ask those types of questions - they are more for your SSW but I find it bizarre that she/he didn't show up - they should have gone before the panel before you did and come back to you with any concerns/questions for you to prepare before you went 'before them'.
Who will be your SSW??? - the one who 'assessed you' or will it be someone else - this is such a key issuer - we LOVE ours and trust her implicitly and know she is 100% trustworthy and 'right' - a real 'rock' and tells it us like it is...
Impossible I know, but try to sit tight and wait for the letter - you really need support and a brilliant working relationship with your SSW... hopefully this is just a false start but in reading so many posts on here, a reality for many... hopefully not a premature 'welcome' to the world of fostering...
Best wishes from a 10month learner!!!
Just to echo what P99 said above, it sounds really unusual to me to - I think it's more important to have your assessing SW there than it is to have you there! I was told I didn't have to attend mine if I didn't want but was glad I did as I was able to answer questions directly.
As for getting your equipment ready, if you're provisionally approved I'd go ahead and get the basics sorted. I know cases where a child has been placed the same day as panel (in my own case a baby was identified before I even went to panel! Although he wasn't placed until everything went through)
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