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Programme on BBC 2 on Foster Children

(15 Posts)
badgerhead Sun 07-Jun-15 22:02:16

Programme starting at 10.00 tonight called 'Protecting Our Foster Kids' on BBC2. Anyone going to watch? I'm not a foster carer but a childminder who has friends who are foster carers and an interest in the problems fostered children have.

willitbe Sun 07-Jun-15 23:13:34

Just caught the end of the program, it was very real! It did reflect the harder aspect of fostering.

Uponastarr Mon 08-Jun-15 12:41:35

thanks for this I'll download and take a look

helloworld2 Mon 08-Jun-15 14:15:06

Same as OP, not a foster carer but have relatives and friends who do. I did see the program so here is my take on it.

It would be a dream for fostering families we know to have so much support from the local authority!! In real fostering life the help is just not there. We have seen family and friends who foster left to cope as best they can until they crack and throw the towel in and the young person moves on. The young teen in this program was a dream compared to some I have seen in foster care with a history of neglect and a history of numerous placements. There was no trashing of the house, going awol for days, stealing, no serious self-harm or sexualised behaviour towards family members but yet the local authority sw's attended meetings!!

I think overall it was a recruitment exercise to recruit foster carers (cynical old me eh?!). Probably most viewers felt they could do as good if not better job for the young teen who was a personable and likeable young teen.

This is not a judgement on the foster carers who seemed lovely and dedicated but most foster carers would not own expensive cars or campervans nor could they afford a holiday in France. Most just scrape by so it was a bit misleading to anyone feeling the fostering call based on the affluent lifestyle in the tv program.

Foster carers that I know are highly trained to deal with attachment disorders and this also did not come across in the tv program.

OK, that's me done so what does everyone else think?

scarlet5tyger Mon 08-Jun-15 14:37:35

I agree it was definitely a recruitment programme and the young girl's problems didn't seem that bad to me either. I've had worse from much younger.

On the other hand I don't think we were shown the full scale of her problems (as it would probably put potential new carers off). Yes, the carers seemed a little naive expecting things to go smoothly based on a 2 week respite placement BUT the child they had taken long term had already had 3 placements break down, which suggests more problems than one query about drugs at school and a couple of days in her room.

I don't think the fostering team came out very well though - who's bright idea was it to separate the sisters, then reunite them, then separate them again, knowing that both were thriving when placed separately?? I really felt for the shorter haired one who was obviously made to feel unwanted by her sister, and now probably blames herself for both placements breaking down.

Tinklewinkle Mon 08-Jun-15 15:03:31

I saw this thread earlier. I didn't see it last night so downloaded it and watched it.

We fostered for 5 years, mainly teens and the teen in this programme was a dream compared to the ones we've had over the years. I really felt for her, but I also understood where the carers were coming from too and we didn't get to see all of what happened. There were comments made about "difficult behaviour", but it wasn't elaborated on. I don't think it was particularly warts and all - or maybe my own experiences have left me a bit jaded/cynical

Fostering teens is hard, I found it a total different kettle of fish to fostering young children. The vast majority of the teens who came to us hadn't been taken into care until 13/14/15. Drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, etc, were all deeply ingrained and difficult to move on from and to be honest, we just weren't prepared for it when we took on our first teen.

The first time they came home high I was horrified, the idea of drugs around my own younger children scared me, made me question if I really wanted to continue with it.

I've also been worried that I don't have the skills and experience required to deal with and keep safe a particularly troubled teen so I could see where the carer was coming from when she said that. We had a young person who self harmed horrifically and I was at a total loss. I was terrified of saying the wrong thing and making it worse, and I just didn't get the support I needed so we did end the placement. This young person really needed a specialised carer and that wasn't me.

I am only human after all. I have flaws, I make mistakes, and there are things that are a complete no-no to me and that's fine. It took me a long time to realise that

The level of support on the programme seemed quite good, but I've sat in meetings like that, where they've all asked me how I'm doing, and on the surface you feel supported, but actually it's all bollocks. It's just a box ticking exercise to keep the placement going for a bit longer (or maybe that's the jaded/cynical bit of me again). They're never there when you actually need them, when your house is being raided by the police, or when I was on my knees exhausted after 3 nights in a row in a police station and they refused to send out a social worker on the 4th night because it costs too much, or when the young person had their hands around my own child's throat. I could wallpaper my whole house with all the contracts of expectations we've had over the years, but ultimately they're pretty meaningless.

Maybe it's just the complete and utter crapness of my local authority, but it just didn't compare to my experiences.

KitZacJak Mon 08-Jun-15 15:04:57

I also felt like a lot of her behavior must have been left out for some reason as it didn't really make sense why they couldn't keep Amy. As her offences seemed relatively minor really. Also agree that the sister being placed there seemed a bizarre move on the social workers' part.

Very difficult to watch Amy trying to strug off another rejection. I can understand the view of the foster carer too as if you have your own children at home they will end up coming first. Just very hard to see that Amy and Natalie don't have the unconditional love in their lives that a parent would usually give to a child.

Nathalie was such a good girl and so pleased to be given a pair of Vans.

I hope they are both doing well now.

JacobMalloy02 Mon 08-Jun-15 16:25:08

I thought it was a good programme with a fair reflection on what life is like as a foster carer or a child in in care.

I too agree with comments about behaviour as it did not seem too bad. However, I think this is good editing rather than show the young person to be very difficult. After all, she does have to go to school the next day and face her friends. So my view is that the programme was sensitive to her needs.

Everyone kept referring to the children and the family as "placements" - I find this terms undermining and not appropriate. Children and Children not LAC's or placements.

It is Fostering Fortnight, I the programme is about highlighting the need for more carers. So the cynical may be correct in that it is about recruitment. I think that's OK. We are many carers short in the UK, so any means to raise the profile of carers for children.

helloworld2 - I think it is unfair to make judgments about the carers wealth status and make the connection to fostering. I am a Registered Manager of an Agency and we have carers from all economic backgrounds. They drive all sorts of cars and go on amazing holidays with the children they foster. Many people do not do this for the money. Also, many carers partners work, so there is another income.

helloworld2 Mon 08-Jun-15 19:09:58

Hey Jacob - I said it was not a judgement on the foster carers whom I did say in my post were "lovely and dedicated". I felt that, although naïve, these were good fostering people.

However, I still feel that these foster carers were specifically chosen for the program to "showcase" fostering. The respite, the meetings, the telephone support, getting a foster child a passport and permission to travel to France at short notice, the actual availability of the social workers was amazing. Our relatives would love to be so well supported. Yes, it was showcasing. It was saying to those who may have been long considering applying to foster.... Look! You can be this well supported if you foster. Not being a foster carer I did not know it was Fostering Fortnight so there you go!!

What hit me most was how Amy was buffeted around like a little lost cork bobbing around on a vast ocean of officialdom, from carer to carer to respite and back with the adults knowing what was happening but not Amy. So many failed foster homes. How sad for both sisters. I also wish them well and hope they have found stability and happiness. I am also glad to see Natalie loved her Vans so good on these carers. I wish them well too as they seemed genuine and kind.

willitbe Mon 08-Jun-15 20:07:06

I have just gone back to watch the program from the beginning, and I have to say that it is a shame that they put the second sister in with the first. It almost felt to me that the issues arose partly in reaction to the having to share a room etc. The promise that it was number one priority to find the second sister another placement, and then this not happening.... not fair on fostercarers or the first sister.

I was relieved to read that both sisters have found ok placements at the end, I hope they have found homes that can give them the love and stability they need.

As for the program, does anyone know when the next episode is being aired?

Pommes Mon 08-Jun-15 21:52:10

All the episodes will be on Sunday, BBC2, 10pm badgerhead - there are some clips on iPlayer and some news articles that are worth a read too.

Hels20 Mon 08-Jun-15 21:58:02

An incredibly moving first episode. My hat goes off to all foster carers - but particularly those that foster teens.

Slippersmum Thu 11-Jun-15 13:51:24

They were my thoughts exactly willitbe. The social workers knew the arrangement was putting strain on the existing placement but nothing much seemed to be being done apart from the helpful comment from the sw about knitting foster carers.

Uponastarr Sun 14-Jun-15 21:15:04

Just a reminder this is on again tonight - focusing on a baby coming into care

willitbe Sun 14-Jun-15 23:41:49

Tonight's program brought a lump to the throat!

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