Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.
I currently have 2 FC (2 and 4 )and 1 BC (5), the FC's have been with me 1 year,
But the eldest FC has reverted to vicious moods, about 10-15 screeching tempers a day, during this time he throws stuff and hits out. We all have bruises to back this up, he seems to aim for the other little people in the household.
This has been going on 1 month(seemed to start around the time we returned from holiday with them, when they had double the amount of contact for 2 weeks to make up for the lack of contact during the holiday).
This has had a disturbing effect on my BC, she now leaves the house on any sign of a temper. (only to nextdoor).
I am torn as this is tearing me apart, between my D and the FC.
I have asked for outside help for the FC with the possibility of his moving on.
The SW has not been too supportive of getting outside help previously, (his has been requested for the past 9 months)
We have have remarkable results with the LO and up until now also with the Eldest FC.
I understand that there is a lot for the eldest FC to cope with, as he had been told he may not be going home to BP, (about 10 weeks ago)
The plan is permanency.
Am I right to be thinking of this, I feel I am letting him down.
Poor you. It is all about how much you can cope with; no one can say whether you should ask for him to move or not but if you do, please dont feel guilty as you have to think of your bc.
He will have a lot of anger and will need to get it out somehow but it would be better in a more healthy way. Can you try giving him more individual attention (I know you have 3 lo's!) and lots of affirmation when he is not having tantrums and immediately remove him from the others when he begins.
I do remove him from the situation as soon as he gets going, but there are limited places that he can not cause damage to himself or property! if there is no one/thing to take anger out on he hurts himself.
I really have held on for the sake of the younger FC, but now things are getting too loud and vicious.
Oh dear is their no chance of therapy
Surely if the placement might breakdown?
To be honest don't beat yourself up you do have a responsibility to your birth children as well and she shouldn't have to be going next door if sw won't support you what choice do you have your not super women
I remember someone saying to me about how we respond to children who are 'hurting' differently. Like, if we see a child 'acting in' they might be sitting in a room quietly crying and a child 'acting out' might be having a rage and throwing furniture and our sympathy lies more with the child quietly crying but really their inner pain can be the same.
I know that doesn't really help and first and foremost you must think of your bc as she is so young herself and is making it obvious to you she is finding it very hard.
Are you on your own anji? or do you have a partner who can share the load?
Are you able when the tantrum starts to restrain the child in your arms to protect him. I have worked with primary school age children with problems in a childrens home and we had to do that most days with some of them. It keeps them safe and also when the tantrum dies down you are holding them. I feel so sad for these lo's but if you had to ask for the child to move on everyone would understand, I am sure. xxxx
Thank you, for your suggestions, I feel I have tried just about everything!
I do hold him as suggested, this does work IF you can get near enough to him!.
It calms him until you let go. then it carries on! A very stubborn LO.
I have sat for an hour holding him, soothing him, but who keeps the other 2 safe, if they come near he becomes agitated.
My husband is working during day, my Mum, comes to keep an eye on the others, if I can get her to hear on the phone, while the temper is in progress.
My BC decamps to my Mums in times of need, but I do tend to have to stretch my self.
From the start, I have encouraged him be be calmer outside the home, so now he is an 'angel' out and in his safehaven, relaxes and lets the anger out!!
My BC is really trying to understand, but it is so hard for her.
The Littlest FC, is now copying the behaviour of the elder FC.
I really think he needs 1 to 1, unfortunately I can not give it, all the time we have no tempers if he is on this own with me!
Before he came to us, he lived as an only child, with his BM, and his brother lived as an only child with other family members.
He changes in a split second, over a little thing, like a spoon being the wrong way around, someone walking too near him.
I am split over loyalties,
Aww poor you. It sounds as though he would benefit from one to one. It is hard enough looking after 3 children those ages anyway. Does he go to school or nursery? It never fails to amaze me the strength they have in a tantrum! xx
He starts full time in September, he has been at nursery 1/2 days until now.
Hi angie - you say in your OP that the 4 yr old has "reverted" to viscous moods and this has been going on for a month. Was he like this when he was first placed - and for how long? What did you do to calm him down at that time? This is an unacceptable situation isn't it, for all sorts of reasons, the 2 yr old starting to copy and most importantly your own BC moving next door when the tanrums start.
There is no knowing really what is behind these behaviours is there, and it could be something that was said during contact, or being told that he is not going home (combination of those things) or some kind of internal trigger. I think sws expect very young children to be able to process the kind of information i.e you are not going home - we are looking for a forever family etc. Clearly they are far far too young to be able understand or process this information.
You don't need me to tell you that you have a very angry little boy whose emotional needs are so great that he needs to be the youngest child in the family by a long way (as you have a 5yr old who he will be competing against) There is almost always a big gap between a LA child's chronological age and emotional age, and it sounds like this 4 yr old is funtioning at well below 2 yrs - though you of course are the best person to know at what age he is functioning at on an emotional level - could be under 1 year of age.
I think it's time the sw starts to take notice of your concerns, both for the 4 year old and you and the 2yr old and your BC. The only kind of therapy available for a child of this age is play therapy, because he is far too young to be able to engage in any other kind of therapy. A good play therapist will let the child lead in the play, not make any suggestions etc and be totally non-directive (unless the child starts to throw things that could injure himself of the therapist). He or she can then interpret some of the reasons behind the anger and this can lead to the next stage of helping the child to regulate his emotions.
However play therapy is very expensive (as most play therapists) practice on a private basis. For this reason sws will be reluctant to offer this kind of help. That was the case when I last worked for a LA in 2004, and things are much worse now because of all the cuts, but that is not your problem. You need to contact the sw as a matter of urgency and request that this child is seen by a play therapist or a clinical psychologist experienced with LAC of this age. Some LAs do have them, or have access to one, so that could be another option.
If they are not willing to offer some help to this child, then I think you have no option but to call time on the placement. I am sure you know all about the child's background and without doubt I think he has an insecure attachment pattern from his pre placement experiences (in that he has learned that adults are not to be trusted) and he is now tranferring that to you, and will sadly go on doing that and getting more and more troubled, unless someone steps in now to try to break this cycle and give this child a chance of healing some of the anger and distress that is in him.
SO I think some straight talking to the sw on Monday is called for. And as others have said, you must think of your BC and the emotional harm that is being caused to her by this little boy's behaviour. You need to be strong with the sws as they are not the ones to have to cope.
Happy to help further if necessary.
Thank you all for your supportive comments, Well, yesterday I had to make a choice, I regrettably decided the placement has got to come to an end, I have been holding on, hoping things would settle down, for the sake of all concerned, but they did not.
I now feel really bad, by letting him down, his younger sibling has come so far with us, and is so happy.
What is the process now, I have informed his SW, they were aware of situation already. They have promised help for him.
They have said there are no carers prepared to take the two of then,
I have already said that if they were split, I would be prepared to keep caring for the younger. but the plan is for them to stay together.
Ironically The elder has today, done nothing, but hug me and tell me he loves living with me, and how much he loves our family, Since I made the decision. He knows nothing of the conversations re the situation.
This is only making me feel more guilty!
If this carries on and he settles down, is there a option to change the plan?
These must be really hard times for you.
The only thing I can suggest is to keep in close touch with SW re plans and changing them, but to be honest, in your shoes, I think I would have done exactly the same thing- Nananina's advice is exemplerary.
Have you read "Building the bonds of attachment"? It's a very good book about a little girl in foster care and how she got through with therapy.
If you would like to borrow it, I will send it to you if you want to PM me your address x
Thank you MissVerinder, I have PM you.
My SW is back from Leave today, so I shall get further news hopefully.
Feeling worse than ever today!!
anji - I think you have made the right decision for your family and should stick with it. Did you give any indication of "notice" as such - in the LA in which I worked we did ask for 28 days notice to end a placement, but for obvious reasons, people were not always able to stick to this. To be honest I think the social workers are not being fair to you at all. It is not your problem that they don't have a placement for the 2 children together and they should not be telling you that - I think they can see your soft inside and hope that you will just carry on ....... you need to make it clear how longyou are prepared to keep the older child - you need to think in terms of weeks, not months - I think 4 weeks is ample time. You also need to make it clear that you will keep the younger child, but if they want to place the 2 together (which seems reasonable) then you would have to say that both need to be moved in 4 weeks (or shorter if you really have had enough) and give a date.
Of course demand always outstrips supply of carers but this is not your problem. If necessary they will have to buy an IFA placement which they will not want to do because of the cost, but again that is not your problem.
I have to say I think there is an element of emotional blackmail here (although the social workers won't see it like that) it's just that they know the little one is fine with you and hope that keeping the sibs together will be enough for you to change your mind. Thing is there is pressure all the way down the line about finance and snr mgrs push middle mgrs and middle mgrs push their team members to do anything to avoid an IFA placement, and unfortunately this sometimes includes exploiting the good intentions of foster carers.
When I was a middle mgr of a fostering & adoption team a foster carer was realy struggling with a child and had tried everything and finally come to the end of the line. I agreed with her that the placement must end on a specific date. We didn't have any other vacancies across the county at that time, so I advised my mgr of the situation and asked for agreement for an IFA placement. She came back and said that was not affordable, so I asked her what she proposed we should do with this 9 yr old boy. She started going on about how moving the boy now would be so damaging to him etc etc etc - I wouldn't have cared quite so much if she had meant that, but she was being hypocritcal because she was only thinking of finance because her mgr was refusing to pay for an IFA for this boy. I was known for direct speaking when necessary and so told my mgr that I felt there was an element of hypocricy here.
The next thing I know is that the sw for the child was sent out by her mgr to try to make the placement "hold" until we had a vacancy. They did not even have the courtesy to tell me what they were doing and I only found out when the foster carer came on in tears and said the sw and her mgr had visited her and she was "put on the spot" but still felt she could not cope with the child.
I worked for this LA for 23 years and only "lost it" 3 times in all those years and this was one of those 3 times! The sw for the child and her mgr had gone behind my back and undermined my team member who knew only too well how much the carer was struggling. I am afraid I did not manage to stay on the right side of "professionalism" on that occasion. I told them that the foster carer was in tears and the child needed to be moved within 24 hours, or she would be complaining to the director. She probably wouldn't have done this to be honest, but it made the managers move, and lo and behold another placement was found. So sad that everything seems to hinge on money and that was over 6 years ago and I understand now that with all this damn government's cuts, things are a lot worse.
You ask what is the process now............and that is as outlined in my first para and don't be fobbed off with "getting help for him now" which would probably mean a referral to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) - I have never been impressed with them - they are the old Child Guidance people and there is usually a very long wait.
You will need to be strong angi and of course you will feel badly and that you have let the child down but you are not responsible for this child's difficulties and have done your level best to the extent that it is seriously affecting your own child. What would that say about you as a mother for allowing that to happen. Are there any other foster carers who have had to give up on a placement who you could talk to. Sadly some children have been so abused/neglected that they are unmanageable. FWIW I wonder if these brothers would be best separated and the 4 yr old being the youngest child (by several years) in a family, rather than having to compete with a younger brother and a bc in the family just a year older than he is, well that is in terms of chronology. Your DD will be functioning emotionally at her chronological age, whereas gthe 4 year old will almost certainly be functioning at a much much younger age.
Take care and get some support for yourself - happy to help further if necessary.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.