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Wheres the support ?

(13 Posts)
caz2go Thu 20-Sep-12 22:45:08

Hi , I,m just enquiring really how much support other foster carers are getting from their supervising s/w .When we were applying to foster we were promised ongoing support with bells on .
Sadly this has,nt been the case at all ,and after a horrendous year so far( Family bereavements ,court cases etc) we feel totally abandoned.
Our s/w is fully aware of our situation as I have had to phone her on every occasion to update her ,we never get a call from her to enquire how things are going . The last time I rang her I broke down crying on the phone .
We have a child in placement who has now serious mental health issues and to be honest we are having a pretty rough time.
Is this lack of support normal , We are really commited to our f/c but need some support. x

NanaNina Fri 21-Sep-12 15:48:46

Of course foster carers need support. The only thing I can say is that all SSDs are overloaded with work, and some of the inner cities are running at 30% vacancy rates and people on sick leave, which leaves the ones left with an unmanageable workload. This was bad enough before I retired in 2004 but I know from colleagues still working that the situation is dire. Of course this has been made much worse by this govt slashing the budgets of all public services and at the same time expecting improved services.

They should have been more honest at the prep group instead of leading you to believe you would get loads of support. Incidentally are you talking about your link worker (or fostering sw) or the child's sw. If it is the latter, then they are aboslutely inundated with child protection cases, and have to soend 70% of their time in front of computer screens! If it's the link worker you could just have one whose lazy, but morelikely to be inundated. I have had to go home many a night at 7.00 knowing that I haven't been able to phone people I know I should have.

Sorry this doesn't help with the girl who is placed with you. I think you need to contact your sw again and say that you need support, or the placement might have to end. Ask her to be honest about why she/he is not able to offer more support. If necessary contact the team manager and complain about lack of support. So sorry you are having such a rough time.

caz2go Fri 21-Sep-12 18:41:49

Thankyou ,NanaNina for your advice , I was refering to our own s/w , from whom I,v actually had a phone call of today !. She was in such a rush to end the call she was actually out of breath and before I could scream at her " I NEED TO TALK" she had ended the call saying you know where I am if you need me!!! .
We are really trying our best in a very difficult situation and dont want the placement to end , but dont know where to turn .
F/c s/w is really good and more helpful than our s/w but she has been on holiday and then off sick , but she,s back today.
I think I will phone team manager and make sure he knows the situation we are in .
We love the f/c , she has been with us 2 years now , but she is now presenting with serious m/h issues , we have spent 4 hrs this week at camhs with her to assess the help she needs .
Thankyou again NanaNina x

Panadbois Fri 21-Sep-12 20:03:02

I have a lovely supportive sw, but she's on maternity leave and the LA have onlynjust advertised for her replacement!

We've had a nice student to cover over the summer holidays, but at the mo, we're without. I am confident though, that should we need support, we could call on the team and they'd be here. ((((((hopeful emotion))))

NanaNina Sat 22-Sep-12 23:28:05

Things are so bad financially for some LA SSDs that vacant posts are "frozen" as they do not have the funding to recruit new workers. They may only just have had approval from senior managers to advertise for this maternity leave post.

NotmylastRolo Mon 24-Sep-12 15:43:16

Hi - we have also suffered and are at our wits end over the lack of support. What was promised in training has not been delivered and I fear it will be the cause of more and more foster placement breakdowns. Our fostering family is taking the brunt of blame for a current placement breakdown but, if we had received the support and services we identified, it could have been avoided. Short term savings do not give long term gains. When I ring up for advice I am accused of not trying to solve the problem myself. That would be good if I could actually do that! An example would be the advice I needed when one of my foster children was accessing hard core pornography on the laptop and had actually set up an account illegally at age 12yrs to view this extreme porn, having over ridden the parental controls and lied about her age on the account! We ended up taking away the child's laptop (we had supplied it so I felt that was fair) and the child complained to the SW. Result...... we are not meeting the child's needs (for porn?) and the child has said they are unhappy so wish to move (where will they find a new fostering family who allows hard core porn I wonder?). Another one bites the dust!

NanaNina Mon 24-Sep-12 18:44:04

OMG this is truly apalling and if you have the emotional energy I think you should get a copy of their complaints procedure and make formal complaint.

NotmylastRolo Tue 25-Sep-12 11:28:27

Bless you Nananina! Our family has come to the conclusion that it is easier for our LA to move the child (although it has been over 9 months since she asked to move and still no sign of it happening!). We asked for support with what we felt were some pretty self-harmful behaviours that this child came to us with 2.5 yrs ago that we were certain we could help with if we had the support promised in training. We have had eating issues (and still do), not washing for weeks (still happening), refusal to use sanitary towels (getting better but still hit and miss), pornography, and seeing no friends outside of school (summer holidays each year are spent alone which breaks my heart for her). We asked for CAMHS at every LAC and PEP since placement but were told she is not bad enough (she is ok and very compliant at school so I guess that make it good enough). By asking for support we have alienated our LA. I wish we had never asked. We have had great success with other children placed with us (one is still with us) so hopefully we can get back to a good relationship with our LA when she has moved on and strike this one down to experience.

NanaNina Tue 25-Sep-12 13:15:21

This young girl sounds like she has some mental health issues. Certainly that is what eating disorders are - as you know I'm sure, nothing about food but about wanting to control something in her life, along with all the other issues. I can't believe the LA are refusing at the very least a referral to CAMHS or getting a clinical psychologist involved.

What is the plan for this girl I wonder although I suspect I know and that is to leave her with you. I am assuming that you are short term foster carers. If that is the case I think you need to ask what the care plan is for this girl, stressing that you are short term carers. The only possible plan for her is permanent fostering. Do they have a teenage fostering scheme in your LA - if so she could be moved to one of those when she is 13. However I get the feeling that you are very fond of this girl, and if so maybe you will hold on to her. However I think you should absolutely insist that this girl gets some help and a referral to CAMHS as there is often a waiting list. Mind I never thought much of CAMHS but it depends on the worker I suppose. I don't think you should accept that you have alienated the LA by asking for help - that's terrible, and how in god's name do they know that she isn't bad enough when they don't live with her like you do. Dreadful, absolutely dreadful.

I think you reallu MUST be more insistent about getting support.

caz2go Tue 25-Sep-12 15:32:05

Hi there ,the stress of caring for a child with mental health issues is enormous .
Our f/d has had an assesment at camhs and we are now waiting for the La the child comes from to agree to funding .
We ,along with the school the child was attending really had to push and pester for an initial appointment.
Our f/d is approaching puberty and this seems to have escalated the m/h issues a great deal , and we are facing very similar situations as yourself ,regarding her personal hygeine and eating problems etc
F/d,s social worker has today cancelled her next visit to see her as she is so busy, which we do understand but it still does not help when we are dealing with a child who is pushing us to the limit with sometimes violent and agressive behavior.
This has become so bad some members of our own family have stopped visiting us ,which is heartbreaking !.
At the beginning of this year my parents died and I was totally wrapped up in grief, We requested respite for 2 nights for the funerals ,the s/w brought f/d back after 1 night as respite carers had asked for her to go due to an incident they couldnt deal with .
My heart breaks at the thought of ending the placement ,but without help and support I cant see any other outcome .
Sorry If I sound so negative , and having a rant , but just writing it down helps get it off my chest , Thankyou x

NotmylastRolo Tue 25-Sep-12 15:35:39

We have been a pain in the neck to our LA asking for CAMHS, a dietician, an advocate/mentor (to help with friendships), and even a blood test for anaemia (due to her restricted diet) well documented at every LAC and health check since placement! We have been told she is not that bad and our care is seen by her as too much pressure! I have been told to be grateful she is not drinking or doing drugs or underage sex!

Her short term carers could not commit to her so she moved to us. We are long term carers. She felt a massive rejection and loss when being moved to us (again, no support for her to cope with this) and this has compounded her existing issues and her mistrust of us as carers. Support??? ..................ha!.......... don't even go there! None for her and none for us. Sad.

Fishwife1949 Tue 25-Sep-12 17:08:06

This is sadly how those girls up north were groomed
Once they become teens you are basically not allowed to employ any tactics to to tackle unwanted behaviour

You cant take away anything
You have to give them the outragous amount of pocket money even when you knwo they are buying drugs ect

This is why i dont foster teens

I feel so sorry that you la is not giving you more support amd you link worker is not backing you up shocking really

NotmylastRolo Tue 25-Sep-12 17:42:12

Oh Caz2go I am so sorry about your loss. One night's respite to grieve is so little for such a major loss. How can we look after the little ones if we are not looked after emotionally. Respite is also support as are your family who feel unable to visit and give support.

We were also promised in training that there was a "whole team around the child". We were assured that we were not expected to care alone with some pretty challenging children. We were also told that we would be respected as equals - we are whilst they are ticking boxes ......... until we ask for services or support !

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