The Gamily Group Conference hadn’t been a great success. Mum hadn’t committed to anything, contact or a date for the children returning. Once the children had got over the excitement of seeing Mum and family they also made it clear that they hadn’t really got any answers to the many questions they had asked. The youngest, especially, was emotional because she just wanted to go home and be back in normal surroundings. We did all the reassuring we could but it was difficult to answer all their questions and calm down at bedtime. The two Social Workers were both amazed at Mum’s lack of empathy towards her children but the fact that other family members weren’t any help either. Nan was just happy encouraging the children to eat the free food and drink. The fact that Mum acted in the way she did led to a number of phone calls over the following few days between us, Social Workers and family.

As Foster Carers we are happy to follow instruction, as requested by Social Workers, but we knew this was going to be a team effort. After a couple of weeks we made a joint decision. One of the children would move to another carer and it was decided that the older sibling would be the one. To be honest we were quite happy about this as she was a bit of a handful and very attention seeking, which had caused issues with all the other children in the house, ours included. She could also be quite bullying which was something we had to protect the other children from. So a date was set and off she went. The other kids, including, our own, went through the motions of saying goodbye but that was quickly followed by a calmer, more relaxed attitude in the house. The other Foster Carers had called us to ask about their impending new placement and we were 100% honest with them, as I would want someone to be in a similar situation. So they knew what to expect but, as she was their only placement, she would get a lot more attention than we could provide with four other children in placement. Apparently Mum was unhappy about them being split up but, given Mums attitude and behaviour towards the children, the decision was pretty much taken out of her hands. We had a meeting with both Social Workers a couple of weeks later to discuss changes that would be made to the set up of the placement over the forthcoming weeks. First of all Mum had said she wanted contact, fortnightly, at her property.

We were aware that there had been concerns about the behaviour of both Mum and her partner towards the children. Also Mum wanted them taxied to and from the placement, she wasn’t prepared to collect them and didn’t want us going to their home. So that started shortly afterwards and, for a while, it worked fine. It gave us a weekend of relative freedom as they were picked up Saturday morning and dropped back Sunday afternoon. We had a few bits of silliness like Mum saying she wanted the children’s clothing allowance so she could buy their clothes and also she wanted to pay her for feeding her children. All of these requests were politely declined which greatly annoyed her greatly.

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