We were asked to attend a meeting at the LA offices. It was my wife and I, our Supervising Social Worker (SSW), the Social Worker, Guardian and Social Work Manager. We were unsure of the reason for the meeting but gathered it was quite important. The Social Work manager started the meeting by saying that our work, as Foster Carers, was exceptional and that it was obvious that we were providing excellent care for the four siblings but they had decided to place two of the siblings with their own Local Authority carers. They wanted our opinion on what two children could be moved on. To be honest we were quite happy about this and it was something we had discussed between us on a number of occasions. Although we had got use to caring for four siblings, the age range and the mix of needs the young people had made it life very complicated. We had a toddler, one in infants, one at junior school and one at secondary school. So school itself was complicated, dealing with different people, different uniforms and different sites. They also had different dietary requirements which complicated matters further. So after an hour’s discussion we reached agreement of how it would work. The eldest and the only girl would remain with us and the toddler and second eldest would move to the LA carers. The next issue would be telling the children and the Social Worker thought it would be best coming from us.
Our SSW thought that the Social Worker should tell the children and we agreed. The Social Work Manager stated that it would be best coming from the Social Worker so that was the final decision. We made an appointment for the Social Worker to visit to talk to the children about the decisions made. We were concerned about how the eldest would react as he had assumed responsibility for his younger sibling when Mum was unable to, for whatever reasons. The meeting was held the following week and the Social Worker and Supervising Social Worker were present. The Social Worker explained to the children how the decision had been made and who would be going where. To our amazement the eldest said that he thought it was a good idea as long as they could have regular visits to their siblings. So we discussed how often contact should be held and it was agree that the children would get together once a month with alternative visits to each placement. It was decided that the transfer would be made in two weeks and we then had to notify various people, schools etc., about the plans. We spoke to the LA Foster Carers who were not very experienced but we were confident that they wouldn’t experience any difficulties with bad behaviour.
The only negative was that the LA Foster Carers thought we were doing all the transporting as the husband worked weekends and the wife didn’t drive. We said that we would sort out the particulars nearer the time and the Local Authority Social Worker said that she would be happy to take the children, on occasions, to contact. We spoke to the older child and asked him why he was so supportive of the plan. He replied that he didn’t want to have the responsibility of his younger siblings anymore and he wanted to enjoy his own life a bit. There was only one more person to tell and that was Mum. We were glad that wasn’t our responsibility and, apparently, she wasn’t impressed at all by the decision.