Christmas was done and dusted and we had a chance to sit down and look at our situation. As Foster Carers we had come a long way in a short matter of time. We had certainly learned on the job and we were happy with how we had coped with the many issues that had come our way. We had, so far, looked after new borns, toddlers and all the way up to teenagers. We had cared for two sibling groups of four and had dealt with several different parents. We had worked with Social Workers both good and not so good and had moved from working for a Local Authority to an Independent Fostering Agency. There hadn’t really been any negatives, as such, but we had made some mistakes and had rectified these and learnt from them. We were up to date with our training and had really enjoyed being involved with support groups and meeting other Foster Carers. The support groups were a great way of sharing experiences with others and learning things which you don’t cover in training. We had been involved with a number of Supervising Social Workers and had been lucky to have received great support from them. We had been praised, especially for our record keeping, and for the way that we communicated in general. We had forged great relationships with schools and other Professionals involved in the various placements we had worked with. The New Year was finishing with us having four children in placement, three from one family and one from a previous placement. The child from the previous placement had been placed to a family member but this had broken down and she was placed back with us. She had no contact with her Mum at this time but did, occasionally, have contact with her brothers.

She had settled back nicely with us and was happy in school and had made a number of friends, she was also much loved by our own family and friends. The three other children had come to us, originally, as a group of four but it had been decided that the eldest should be placed elsewhere for her benefit as well as ours and her siblings. The other three were relatively settled despite Mum’s best efforts to disrupt the placement. She didn’t want the children back, at this stage, but didn’t like the idea of the children getting too close to us. Mum had recently fell pregnant and this had caused some upset amongst the children in our care. Their main gripe was that Mum had told them that she couldn’t cope with them but Mum seemed able to cope with another baby and the toddler she still had at home. The toddler and the expected baby the children of Mum’s new partner and we did wonder if the new partner was the reason they had come into care. There had been some disclosures about some of the punishments that had been handed out to the children, which had seemed quite harsh. Contact was in place, on a fortnightly basis, but there was no fun involved, just left to their own devices. Mum was constantly asking for money from us and even from the children. We had found out that Mum was still claiming child support even though she was no longer entitled to it. So we were looking forward to the New Year and facing whatever challenges came our way. We could not see any situations that we couldn’t deal with and we were confident about the future.

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