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Struggling to maintain placement

(24 Posts)
fc6362 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:19:19

Hi, I have a sibling group of 3, plus my own young child. From day one I have felt (and many friends/extended family have pointed out) that there is something more than just attachment problems with the youngest of the 3. Obviously our children are a result of their environment and I understand that (I go above and beyond to do any and all training) but I feel there's something more there. They've been with us coming on for 2 years now and the sw's just keep repeating the same thing - disorganised attachment. The children's sw will very often say, when I'm telling her of an incident/problem, well that sounds like my lg or lb which is ridiculous as her children are her own so to compare is like comparing an apple to a loaf of bread. Anyway, I'm starting to just give in now and accept that maybe it is just the attachment problem and nothing more.
My issues in that case are that having 4 young children here and one that physically cannot follow any rules because literally as soon as I've said it she's forgotten it, can't ever tell me why she's done something because she has the same understanding of the word why as a toddler, lies all the time over pointless things, even saying she's done things she hasn't done that will get her in trouble, not to mention the daily wetting and soiling and then continuing to sit in it all day even after being asked is she has, all of this is too much for me.
There, I've said it. It's too much. My husband took them to school this morning and I've sat at home crying, feeling like I'm in a hole I can't get out of. When we started fostering I said no under 5's. She was 4 but I thought it would be ok as I really wanted this group and the other 2 were a little older. Nobody explained that she was so badly delayed that she wasn't really 4, she was 2.
My massive problem now is that if I can no longer do this, they will move the whole group, not just her and the thought of what that will do to them and us is heartbreaking.
Sorry for such a long post! I'm just so lost.

fc6362 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:21:29

I've been in talks this week with my fsw over whether I can maintain this placement which was supposed to be long term.
Also, my husband thinks I'm "not trying hard enough" with her. I've tried to explain that I just don't have that attachment to her which feels horrible but I don't know how to change how I feel

tdm1 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:25:02

I have huge respect for what you're doing and so please get some therapeutic support for you and for her - it would be devastating for all of you if the placement broke down. Insist that the sw help you find this support - whether through a specialist LAC service, CAMHS, or wherever.

TeaBelle Wed 16-Mar-16 09:33:44

Has anything been raised at the child's medical reviews? What do school think?

Could you request a meeting with your sw, children's social worker and iro to discuss some support for you. If they value the placement then they should support you in order to keep it eg would respite help, or a specialist assessment.

3PurpleCrocs Wed 16-Mar-16 09:59:09

Hi FC6362, I too have a FC with attachment disorder. Despite some increases in understanding of the disorder I think it's still massively misunderstood - hence SWs saying it's "just" attachment disorder. At its most severe it can result in a child presenting symptoms of psychopathy - would a SW say they're "just" a psychopath? (Note! I'm using the term in its actual sense, not the media psycho-killer sense).

AD is massive and can be extremely wearing - particular for primary carers. Most of the children I've cared for with severe AD have been separated from siblings as they cannot cope with the "competition" - so it may not be that your whole group will be moved. Write down everything you can, good points and bad. Are the other siblings bonded with your family?

Asking for therapeutic help is a good start, but with money so limited it's a real fight to get at the moment. CAHMS help is also severely limited at the moment - usually only available at crisis point now.

Are school helping? Is the child different at school to at home? I always get school involved as soon as a child is placed. If they have no knowledge of AD then ask for at least one teacher/TA to go on awareness training. It's crucial for home and school to be singing from the same hymn sheet.

The symptoms you describe are typical of AD but that doesn't make them any easier to live with. Have you yourself attended attachment training or support groups? It's much, much more easier for me to help the FC who live with me when I've been to my support group and have been reminded why they're acting like this. Likewise it's important to take care of yourself too. Do you get time to yourself when the children are at school? I make sure I get at least 30 minutes "me" time in the day - even if that's just sitting on mumsnet like now!


fc6362 Wed 16-Mar-16 13:55:40

Thanks everyone. I've had the lac clinician involved but that was really just around the issues with the daily soiling /wetting and the pressure that was putting us under. I felt it was helpful although she still does it every day, however I get less stressed with it. They've mentioned getting her involved again for this side of things now.
The school have like a ta that sits with her one afternoon a week just to basically go through anything she didn't understand our get done the week before (surely she can't spend forever catching up on the week before though?) We've moved their school as the last one was too close to home and they all were bullied. They've been so much happier, however now that ages at a better school in a better area the school are picking up on things that the last school didn't. They've been there 6 months and the school seem to be very eager to do what they can.
The other siblings are vet much a part of our family and we love them, they're very attached and it would be awful for them if they had to leave. The sw has made it very clear that they would definitely all have to leave as they think that she "gets a lot from them" as well as us. I'm not really sure where that comes from as they rarely see them together. I think she'd be much happier and progress more by herself.
I've just now had the conversation with my fsw that maybe she doesn't have add/fasd/asd, maybe it is "just" ad, but if she's suffering the same symptoms, why shouldn't she get the extra help that they get? Because it's "just" ad??
They're looking into doing respite regularly, once a month for a weekend (we've done it twice before, 3 months apart for a weekend) but I don't know if that will make any difference to the rest of the time

wholecanofbeans Wed 16-Mar-16 15:03:28

I'm sorry you're in this situation OP. I've been a foster carer for a long time and understand the emotional pressure that you can be put under by situations when you can't see a way forward with a particular child. It sounds like the social workers involved are keen to keep all the children in placement. How does your own child cope? In the past I've had similar situations where I've felt pressurised by the child's social worker and my supervising social worker to keep a child in placement to the detriment of my own family. I have found an ally in the lac reviewing officer who has remained the same over the years and has always seen the wood from the trees. Do you have a review coming up any time soon? Do pm me if you would prefer. thanks

wholecanofbeans Wed 16-Mar-16 15:03:34

I'm sorry you're in this situation OP. I've been a foster carer for a long time and understand the emotional pressure that you can be put under by situations when you can't see a way forward with a particular child. It sounds like the social workers involved are keen to keep all the children in placement. How does your own child cope? In the past I've had similar situations where I've felt pressurised by the child's social worker and my supervising social worker to keep a child in placement to the detriment of my own family. I have found an ally in the lac reviewing officer who has remained the same over the years and has always seen the wood from the trees. Do you have a review coming up any time soon? Do pm me if you would prefer. thanks

NanaNina Wed 16-Mar-16 20:40:31

I'm a retired social worker and have some 30 years experience all in CSs for the same LA. The last 15 years of my career I was a manager for a fostering & adoption team.

Firstly I think OP you are a rare family, to take on a sibling group of 3. Can I ask if all the children have the same parents? The way you describe the youngest sounds like there is far more than AD going on. Does she maybe have learning difficulties, on the autistic spectrum (this often goes undiagnosed in girls) as they cover it up more than boys, not consciously of course. I wonder about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome as this can cause very bizarre behaviour. But if the social workers are sticking to AD, suggest that the child has play therapy (they won't want to go down this route as it's too expensive)but I think you will have to dig your heels in. LAs are all short of money as this government has demanded massive savings affecting service delivery. Having said that, it's not your problem of course.

Can I ask which social worker is saying they would move all 3 if the youngest had to move, the children's social worker or your fostering social worker. I imagine it was the children's social worker. I honestly think this is emotional blackmail to get you to carry on with the youngest. Where on earth are they going to find another family to take a sibling group of 3, where the youngest has a myriad of problems. In short, they're not. As I said at the beginning it is very rare to find a family who will take a sibling group of 3. It's despicable that they are using this tactic. If they did try it would probably end up splitting them anyway - 2 in one placement and 1 in another, so how would that be acting in the best interests of any of the children. They know they will struggle to place the youngest.

It's a shame your husband isn't of the same view. Does he not have much to do with the children. Maybe you are going to have to talk to him and let him know just how much this is affecting you.

I think you should call their bluff and say that if you have to continue with the youngest, you won't be in any fit state to care for the others.

Happy for you to PM me if you wish.

fasparent Wed 16-Mar-16 21:54:24

There may be underlying HEALTH issues which all may be unaware of , suggest
a visit too the GP ask for a referral too Genetics Clinic.
Our son is going through this process , there is the new 100.000 Genomes Project which they may refer too . Can Google project.
Have had children diagnosed in the past using Genetics Clinic, Helps the children and CAMHS with correct understanding and support. Have too stand your ground for best interest of the child, sad but true.

fasparent Wed 16-Mar-16 22:31:28

Regards Nana Nina's comment regards Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders yes lots of behaviours fit the criteria FASD is an umbrella term, children may be effected in many many ways , hence it is under complexed needs , One criteria
before a FASD diagnosis is that they first have a referral too a Genetics Clinic before a FASD Assessment can be made too rule out other conditions which have nothing too do with FASD.

fc6362 Fri 18-Mar-16 12:15:20

Hi wholecanofbeans, to be honest my daughter loves having them here as I don't think she remembers any different so no worries there. I think the only person it's really affecting massively is me. We've just had a lac review but it's sometimes hard to say everything I want to say as birth mum is there and I don't want her to feel I'm blaming her.
Nananina yes they all have the same parents, she has another brother who's not with us who has severe autism, he's a year older than her. They've said there's slight learning difficulties with all of them. She's not on the sen register although her brother is (I actually think he's the brightest but is lazy plus low self esteem.) They've actually recommended play therapy which I'm waiting to hear about, we did do it with her brother when they first came as he was very violent with me and didn't want anything to do with me.
I suggested autism when she first came but that was brushed off, since then I've mentioned foetal alcohol syndrome but they've just said there's nothing on file from when they were at home. I find this ridiculous as of course mum wouldn't have told them that unless she was a raging alcoholic.
Yes it's the csw and my own fsw saying they have to stay together. My fsw is just taking his lead from csw though.
I'm glad that you, with your experience on the other side of the fence, can see what I'm saying.
The main issue my husband has is loading the other 2. We would both be devastated.
I don't know if I'd dare call their bluff. I also wouldn't want to have a mark against my name as we love taking big sibling groups and are able to but when one of them is this complex it is like having 10 kids!
Fasparent I didn't know they could do genetics testing, I'll definitely be pushing for that with my gp!
Thank you everyone

NanaNina Fri 18-Mar-16 13:51:46

If the brother has severe autism, then I think it likely that this child is also on the spectrum and it's more difficult to pick it up with girls. It seems to me that you are being fobbed off - when you say they've recommended play therapy, what are they doing about getting something set up. There are lots of private play therapists and they'd have to pay of course unless there is something in house. It's all very well doing nothing because they don't have to cope with this child's behaviour day in and day out. I have in the past had numerous disagreements with social workers and their managers about their expectations of foster carers. My team were also quick to defend foster carers when the need arose.

I think you should press for an assessment for autism or AS - I gather there is slight L/D with all the children - maybe it is worse with the youngest.

As far as calling their bluff is concerned this shouldn't be necessary, neither should you have a "black mark" against you. I suggest you write to the social worker with a copy to her manager, stating how you are being adversely affected by this child's behaviour which is getting worse as she gets older. (I assume that's the case) Mention that you have asked for support but none has been forthcoming and your fears about autism L/Ds FAS have not been taken seriously. You could then say that it's coming to the point where you don't feel you can continue to care for X as the stress is impacting on the household in general. Then: "When I have discussed this with Y she has stated that all 3 children would be moved as the siblings need to stay together. However I think that this is unreasonable and that to move the 2 older children who are well settled in our family would not be in their best interests. We would welcome a discussion about this as I am finding it increasingly difficult to cope with X"

Something like that. If they are still talking about moving all 3, get a copy of the complaints procedure - it will probably be the team manager's manager (Service Manager) though of course all LAs have different structures so I'm not sure of the management structure. You can't just have this social worker telling you something that is totally against the children's best interests. Don't be subservient to the social workers!

I've just re read your OP and you have been more than reasonable and have tried for 2 years with this child. The SW is silly for saying "Oh yes that's like my lg/lb" ridiculous. I feel absolutely sure that if senior managers knew of this they would NOT in any circumstances move the 3 children as it wouldn't be in the best interests of the 2 who are settled. There is a legal route if they tried to move them but it could leave you without funding, so I'd try the letter first.

Keep me posted.

wholecanofbeans Fri 18-Mar-16 15:52:43

Excellent advice from Nina.

fc6362 Fri 18-Mar-16 18:40:51

The play therapy was literally only mentioned the other day so my fsw is looking into it. It's an in house group play therapy thing run by one of the social workers whereas the other one I did was at home with the lac psychologist.
All the things you've said to write in the letter sounds like what I've been saying over and over so maybe I would be better writing it down and having some actual evidence that this is what's being said. I'm not sure who this should be addressed to though? The fostering manager? Of my team or the children's team? You're being very helpful and I appreciate it grin

GlitteryShoes Fri 18-Mar-16 18:48:30

There is a brilliant Facebook group called 'therapeutic parents' which is well worth joining, and has loads of resources. I have found it far more useful than CAMHS.

fc6362 Fri 18-Mar-16 18:53:11

Oh I'll have a look, thank you glitteryshoes

NanaNina Fri 18-Mar-16 20:49:03

Hmm play therapy needs to be undertaken by someone who is properly qualified and accredited to the National Play Therapists Association, so I feel sceptical about a group run by a social worker. I'm not sure how you can do group play therapy because it needs to be an individual process between therapist and child. Some clinical psychologists are able to do play therapy.

I think you could send the letter to the children's social worker, with a copy to her manager, your fostering social worker and his manager. You might have to be insistent as there will be a temptation to "do nothing" again, so if you don't hear anything in 2 weeks, I would ask for a copy of the complaints procedure - that usually concentrates the mind! I know that social workers are under a lot of pressure with unmanageable caseloads, but you are under pressure too and that is being discounted, which is unfair.

The Facebook Group sounds interesting.

I'm happy to help as I'm sure others are too.

fc6362 Fri 18-Mar-16 22:10:55

I've written out my letter buy I'm going to give myself the weekend to think about it and make sure I've worded out right. The particular social worker doing the theraplay happens to be one I like and she is regarded as one of the better ones - in fact when my old one left I asked for her but didn't get her - however I'm not sure what qualifications she has to do the theraplay. I'm also unsure how it will work in a group setting.
The Facebook group seems great, I have noticed that it is basically TCI (F) Which is the longest training course I've done through fostering but also the best. Not sure if anybody else has done it, it's Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and is a level 2 course.

NanaNina Sat 19-Mar-16 14:59:35

If you want to PM the letter I'm happy to have a look - obviously needs to be non confrontational but getting your point across. You could make the point that the youngest child might benefit from not having to compete with 3 other children, and raise the possibility of her being the only child in placement. You'll need to counter the SWs view that "she gets something from being part of a sibling group" - I think you said she doesn't interact with the other children very much? You'll need to talk about the dynamic between the sib group.

You've obviously done a lot of training but sometimes this doesn't help as you struggle on a daily basis to cope with this child.

RandomMess Sat 19-Mar-16 15:18:23

Just Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at the lack of support the children and you are getting angryangryangry

flowers I hope you manage to resolve what you what want and have the guts to go through with doing what is the "right" things for everyone which may well be splitting the sibling group up, hugs x

fasparent Sat 19-Mar-16 21:25:54

Think you are being led around the houses some what
1 need appointment with community paediatrician ( would have too wait for appointment)
2 Can get referral too Genetic Clinic via GP'
3 Can apply too LA's Schools Disability assessment team for advice.
Possibility after assessment by Child Physiologist could be referred too disability Outreach team ( have OT's , Play therapist, speech etc.). would be able too do a Pathway plan. followed by a Educational health care plan ( this replaces the old SEN Statement) if it is needed.
Community Paediatricians would also be able too access support as the child is a Looked after child would be given priority in all above.
4 Could contact your Virtual head too discuss all above and bring up all at next review .
As said previous have too stand your ground, often when all info eventually get's too Doc at LAC medical it's often out of date sadly, no one too blame just the system. This can effect child's future and adoption.

fasparent Sun 20-Mar-16 11:59:35

Whoops !!!! So sorry should have quoted SEND Pathfinder plan not PATHWAY PLAN.
LA's Schools statutory disability assessment team should be able too advise you, under new system children do no longer need a statement too access's
advice or support. This applies too all children not just LA Children, but LAC would be given priority. could also help too find a school which is best placed too support the Childs needs.
Doubt if all social workers would be aware of the New changes.

fc6362 Mon 21-Mar-16 14:45:53

Hi, I've got her booked into doctors but won't couldn't get in until 6th April! Really interested in that genetic testing thing. I really appreciate everybody's help, I was starting to feel like I was imagining it but talking about it I know I'm not and I won't just leave it like they want me to.
Letter is on my pc and I'm currently on phone so will send it tonight for you to read.
My fsw is coming this afternoon but kids will be in so not sure how much will get said. To be honest I rang him so many times last week I don't know what more I can say?

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