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Gripe of the week..

(29 Posts)
BusterTheDonk Wed 14-Sep-11 21:10:05

Ok.. bit depressing I know.. but after "Highlight of the Week" thought it might help (me at least!!) to have a good old rant.

My gripe of the week is that the kids were taken out during contact today and driven right past our/their home (20 mins away from contact centre). Of all the places to take them!! Purely by accident at hospital our address was disclosed to mum, but had that not happened, the older LO could and would have said 'there is xxx's house', but to be honest that's not my gripe, its the fact that I find it insensitive to the children - what must they have thought to see "home" and not stop!? sad grrrrr

bonnieslilsister Thu 15-Sep-11 21:45:11

OK mine is yesterday morning rushing to take 1 week old fc to his 0900hr daily contact with Mum taking fc, age 2.11, with me.....hanging round during contact then driving home....round trip 26 miles then at 3pm taking the same route to take fc age 2.11 to his weekly 1 hour contact taking baby with me.

Do you know the biggest gripe has to be his Mum was in a strop and sat in a corner for all of the contact refusing to speak with her 5 children because she was so angry. that had to take the biscuit for me.

Then I had to rush home to prepare dinner for everyone including my two cos I hadn't been organised enough for a million reasons. Also, midwife left loads of messages and blames me for not being in when she called!

MissVerinder Thu 15-Sep-11 22:38:09

Ooooh, I severely dislike contact. The poor little mite comes back so angry, it takes a couple of days to bring her down sad

Also, my Link Worker is leaving and she was bloody excellent.

NanaNina Thu 15-Sep-11 23:37:40

Bonnie - that sounds truly horrendous and totally unacceptable. I honestly think you carers should get together and insist upon proper negotiations over this business of transporting to contact. The thing is if these budget cuts don't have any "fall out" then it will prove to the govt that money was being wasted before and so legitimise the cuts. If foster carers refuse to do transport and the children don't get contact, then the Director of Social Services should make it known to judges that contact hasn't been able to to take place because the LA has had insufficient funds to pay contact supervisors to transport children.

I know this is really difficult for foster carers to do, but it is just so unfair that you are having to bear the brunt of these brutal cuts to social services budgets.

At the very least individual arrangements should be made about transport, dependent upon the ages and needs of the foster carer's own children and the feasability of taking two children to contact on the same day but at different times. Utterly ridiculous. Do you have a foster carer group (or coffee mornings - not that you'd have time for those Bonnie!) where you can discuss this with other carers and make some decisions as to how to tackle this problem. United you stand - divided you fall!

bonnieslilsister Fri 16-Sep-11 15:07:30

it is difficult to complain and stand out for obvious reasons nananina, but for the sake of my fc aged 2.11yrs i have calmly told them today it is not good for him to do the daily contact drive because it means he misses all his activities so hopefully arrangements will be made to transport the 9 day old in a taxi to daily contact xx

SquidgyBrain Fri 16-Sep-11 20:35:42

my gripe is

I have broken my toe/foot and can't drive. My DH took the day off yesterday and I tried to arrange transport for my LO, they arrived so late that my DH took him to contact (he works 90 min drive away and this made him late for work) then 10 minutes before contact was due to end, I got a phone call asking if I could send my husband to collect him - I transport the LO daily, I top and tail contact at the weekend so why do they think that we would ask for help if we didn't need it!! (they did have to sort it out at the end)

bonnieslilsister Sat 17-Sep-11 16:54:48

poor you squidgy i did that once and it is so frustrating apart from sore xx

MissVerinder Sun 18-Sep-11 20:32:38

My grip today is the LAC review tomorrow. It's the second one, and I think it's going to be bad news for someone- I'm not sure who! I am soooooooooo sh*tting myself!

bonnieslilsister Sun 18-Sep-11 20:46:38

Explain yourself MissVerinder!! You are being very cryptic smile

MissVerinder Mon 19-Sep-11 13:37:20

I'm not sure what they're going to say as to where she'll be for the foreseeable future sad I hope it's with us.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 19-Sep-11 13:46:08

Contact is my absolute biggest gripe too. I am currently 5 months pregnant, have a two year old, work 30 hours a week, but every friday I have a sixty mile round trip to contact that half the time my 13 year old foster son doesn't even want to go to. What is double frustrating is that this is a long term, stable placement with no plans for re-hamilitation. No-one seems to be able to give me a good reason as to why this can't be cut to monthly. I also wouldn't mind so much if I felt my foster son was getting something out of it, but most of the time he plays x-box for two hours with the social worker supervising contact! I am dreading the winter and having all that travel, and then finding something to do in the cold and wet while he is at contact.

MissVerinder Mon 19-Sep-11 17:15:48

when's your next LAC, Scarlettsmummy? Surely if DFS has input as well as you, then the contact could be cut? Even once a fortnight would be better, no?

BusterTheDonk Mon 19-Sep-11 18:56:11

How did your LAC (oops. CLA) review go MissVerinder?

bonnieslilsister Mon 19-Sep-11 20:38:48

Yes, how did it go? I hope the right decision was made. xx

NanaNina Mon 19-Sep-11 22:34:04

scarlettsmummy - Is this boy placed with you on a permanent basis. If so then weekly contact is totally inappropriate. I think you need to ask the social workers "What is the contact meant to achieve" - it should be based on the best interests of the child. If the child is not going to be re-united with birthparents and is in permanent foster care with you, then usually contact is quarterly or at the most x 6 per year. The social workers are unable to give you reasons why contact has to be so frequent is because they don't know! Possibly they don't want to upset the birth parent, but contact arrangements should not be made in the best interests of the birth parents. What is your link worker doing about this - he/she should be complaining about what you are being asked to do.

I feel so very frustrated at what I am hearing on these threads and you carers are being treated appallingly with these ridiculous contact and transport arrangments.

SM I think you should ask for a meeting with the boy's social worker, his or her manager and your link worker.

I think you need to ask quite directly "What is contact meant to achieve" and don't let them off the hook, be insistent.

You should then advise them that as far as you are aware, the boy has no interest in seeing his mother and spends the contact time playing on a computer.

If they are not prepared to re-visit these ridiculous contact arrangements, then I think that you need to tell them that you are no longer prepared to do this 60 mile trip on a weekly basis.

If you don't feel you are getting anywhere, then you need to ask for a copy of the complaints procedure and follow it through. You should not be being expected to carry on with these ridiculous contact/transport arrangements.

To be honest I don't know how you are coping, working 30 hours a week, a toddler to care for and 5 months pregnant. It just makes me so sad and frustrated at what I am hearing on these threads.

You must stand up for yourself - they will have to take notice of you if you are insistent. You don't need to be confrontational but you need to be clear in respect of your concerns.

Squidgy - I can barely believe what I am reading - how unbelievably awful of the soc works to think you (or your DH) should be at their beck and call.
I think you need to make sure that you bring this up at your annual review.

Bonnie - why is it difficult to complain and stand out Bonnie - if you don't then you will get nowhere - I am glad you managed to calmly say what you felt - but I wouldn't put money on it that anything will change.

Think I am going to have to stay of these sites as I am sure my blood pressure is getting raised. You must all be very long suffering foster carers. I can tell you that the majority of the carers in the LA that I worked for would never have put up with these arrangements for contact and transport.

BusterTheDonk Tue 20-Sep-11 17:01:39

No No No Nana Nina... please please don't stay off this site... I know I speak for many when I say we need you on here and it is so valuable to hear your opinion on things... wink

NanaNina Tue 20-Sep-11 17:49:49

Hi Buster - thank you for your kind words - I wasn't really serious but honestly it really does upset me to see how you carers are being treated. It is shocking what social workers are expecting you to do with all this transport and contact etc. LAs budgets have been slashed that is a fact but they can choose where to cut and they are cutting on transport and contact supervisors by the look of things. What really needs to happen is for the SWs to go to court and tell the judge the child has not had contact because they could not afford to pay contact supervisors to transport and supervise contact. I know it's a tall order, but while ever these budget cuts are hidden nothing will change.

Am off to Ireland tomorrow for a few days to see my youngest son, dil and 2 gorgeous grandchildren (not biased or anything!)

Take Care..............NN

SquidgyBrain Tue 20-Sep-11 20:14:08

to be fair to my LA we were told we would be required to transport, and our last placement was mainly driven by volunteer drivers. This LO is too young to be transported this way, but we are able to claim a mileage allowance which others don't seem to. Our LA are also trying a scheme to make "professional carers" we have a 3 tier fee structure which even on level 1 is a generous fee, and we have good allowances too. They are also giving us lots of support and training. I know not everyone is so lucky, but I am not really doing anything I feel I didn't know about prior to approval - although didn't get a full picture of the amount of meetings. I am really enjoying being a carer and would happily recommend our LA it certainly doesn't seem to be penny pinching. You would be delighted to hear that the private agencies are loosing carers as our LA are keeping their carers and recruiting new carers so there is not the requirement smile

NanaNina have a lovely time in Ireland with your family smile

bonnieslilsister Tue 20-Sep-11 20:35:08

i am feeding one handed and sleep deprived but want to say to nananina have a lovely time with your family and do not entertain the idea of leaving us .....ever!

NanaNina Tue 20-Sep-11 23:02:07

Oh Bonnie - thank you so much for your kind words; they are appreciated. Sometimes I miss my job and being able to contribute on the fostering & adoption sites helps me too.

Squidgy - so glad that you are happy with the LA you are working with. Yes we had a 3 tiered system in the LA I worked for (a Shire county) by the way, and also gave foster carers the opportunity to do their NVQs in conjunction with a local college. It was tremendous to see carers who had not done anything like this before (and thought they weren't capable) get their NVQs which were presented by the Director at a Thank You Evening to all foster carers held twice a year.

I wonder if any of you work with LAs where there is a group of carers who meet (both formally and informally). Our LA had a very thriving group of carers who met informally (coffee mornings etc) and formally to decide what issues they as a group wanted to raise with social workers and managers. It was a very empowering group and happily we didn't get any serious complaints at all. I think it was excellent for new carers to get to know other carers and for the experienced ones to give their views on the social workers!

Can't wait to see my grandchildren, a little boy of 6 and a little girl of 2, mind I's better not call him "little" in front of him - would be a gross insult!

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 20-Sep-11 23:12:44

Hi, thanks for all the kind words! I am just far too soft!!

Next Lac review is in November and I have already told social workers (both childs and my own) that when I have the baby in January that I will be transporting once a month at the max. Childs social worker has taken this on board. He is a lovely man but just doesn't want to rock the boat at all with childs dad and grandmother- which is baffling as they have actually been very supportive of the placement.

I feel that the reason fs social worker is keeping the contact so high is that he knows that in all probability that when fs is sixteen he will be unable to live independantly as he has special needs, so will want to return to father and grandmother. I can see he means well but this doesn't help me in the meantime!! We really should have permanency but again the social worker thought that as birth family have neve been difficult there was no point upsetting them now!

SquidgyBrain Thu 22-Sep-11 11:39:18

My gripe this week has nothing really to do with fostering but it is a gripe - I had to balance things up - so I now have 2 broken toes, one on each foot!

bonnieslilsister Thu 22-Sep-11 12:33:15

NOOOO!!!! Stop now, it's not funny anymore! xx

SquidgyBrain Thu 22-Sep-11 12:52:18

oh it gets worse - was in a very minor car accident last weekend and have a sore back from that! you have to laugh lol smile
(DH says he is going to buy me safety cloggs!!)

MissVerinder Thu 22-Sep-11 20:20:45

Ouch, squidgy!

Buster it went ok, she's going to be with us for a bit smile

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