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Social Worker asking for advice from Foster Carers(10 Posts)
After years working in Child Protection I a have a new job as a Supervising Social Worker. Although I have worked with foster carers I would like to ask
what do you want/need from your sw? What really helps and what doesn't!
I'll jump in and answer this one if I may.
Firstly honestly and secondly the passing on of as much information as possible about a foster child.
Also someone who will consider the foster carer's needs too, which can often get lost in the complex needs of child and birth family.
I guess really just an open and honest relationship, working together, offering support when necessary and a few laughs along the way.
Someone to fight our corner, someone to bounce ideas/complaints too/at, someone to guide us, answer questions honestly, put us forward for training, look after finances, someone to care about us and our wellbeing.
Ours thankfuly is brilliant - honest, down to earth, reliable, knowledgeable, experienced, lets me moan... so all of those too I guess.
Congrats & enjoy!!
Agree with all the others
Honesty is key
Also realism some times I am in meetings and me my supervising social worker are looking at each other like really and if it wasn't for her they would have me doing god know what she makes sure I am not taken advantage of or taken on more than I can handle
She also encourages me to take on challenges when I been feeling like I can't
To make sure the childs sw is doing their job I once had a child in placement for 3 weeks the childs sw did not visit that child once or contact any one.
Other wise you will end up doing two peoples jobs
My sw is ace and we always end up putting the world to rights over tea and cake lol
She is down to earth and real also she is personable and lets me know when I am doing a good job
I would also agree, honesty with the child and me. If you can't do something, don't promise it. Say you'll look into it and get back to us. I've been lucky with the two i'm involved with so far. If you are busy, send a little text or give your email address and work around it as i know there is a lot of travel involved and red tape. Children will appreciate it if they feel you are truly in there corner
For me it is being treated as an equal and a member of the same team.
it shouldn't be them and us it should be we.
I do agree with all of the above especially about the honesty!
Good luck with the new job
I feel it is extremely important, and I cannot stress this enough, to be there for carers when a LO moves on.
When our 1st LO moved on to adoptive parents after being with us from birth to 19 months old (and after going through heroin withdrawal with him, sitting up every night for 6 weeks too scared to sleep in case he died), we were devastated, especially as we had said 1 week bridging was not enough for him as he had severe separation anxiety.
We were ignored and consequently the adopters had a horrific time for a good few months. Then after he left we were bereft, it was like a death and nobody but nobody phoned, came round or asked how we were, how we felt, or if we needed some support, and we really did need that support.
The LO had no birth family for reasons I cannot go into, but as a result for 19 months he was OUR baby, we were Mummy and Daddy and we had no idea how to cope with our loss and nobody at SS gave a damn at how it affected us and in particular, our own children.
As a result it was a good 6 months before we felt able to take another child. yes I realise we got too attached but how do you not?
So please please support your carers when they move a LO on.
I still cry for that little boy, I still miss him, I am still grieving for him and it has been 3 years since he moved and do you know still to this day not one person at SS has asked, how did it go? how did you feel?, are you ok?
Oops sorry that turned into a get it off your chest didnt it!
But I suppose that only goes to prove how badly it affected us and how badly we needed support to get through it.
I also think extra support right at the beginning. I am 4 weeks into my first placement and I feel like it's just here you are, here's your child off you go!
I was shell shocked for the first week, was I saying and doing the right things? how long will she be here ?
Also being put in touch with another foster carer as a sort of mentor would be a good idea.
Completely agree with SFMum, help at the beginning is crucial. Prep training is all very well but to be honest we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for and 2 and a half months in feel very disillusioned with the whole thing. Social workers make the right noises but don't do very much in practical terms. We were constantly told in training the child comes first and we should 'push' to get things done for them. IMO pushing gets you labelled a troublemaker and I feel disinclined to push on anything now.
We don't feel included or part of a team and if | knew then what I know now I would never have started fostering. Thank goodness our ssw is very good but the childrens team....! There seems to be a distinct lack of communication between departments and as someone who tries to be a good communicator I find this particularly hard to deal with.
To sum up (sorry for ranting) I believe the three key things are honesty, support and good communication. Good luck in your career move.
cazzmags......im like you regarding childrens teams, i have never ever had a good experience with a childs social worker, i have found every single one of them to be seriously inadequate at their job!
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