It was a normal weekend, the children had contact with their Mum and left on Saturday morning in the cab. We had a nice day taking our other young girl in placement down to the coast for the day. On Sunday we went to the local shops to buy some clothes for all the Looked After Children (LAC). We liked to buy clothes on a monthly basis depending on what the children needed, so underwear, tee shirts and nightwear were always in plentiful supply. We got home, had lunch and awaited the children’s return. They normally got back  mid to late afternoon but it got to early evening and there was still no sign. Eventually they arrived and were in really bad shape. All three of them were crying and the poor cab driver looked shaken. I went to talk to him while my wife looked after the children. The taxi driver said that the children were very upset when he picked them up and hadn’t wanted to leave. He had stopped on the way back as the children were so distraught and he had bought them drinks to help them recover. The cab driver left and we sat the children down to find out what had happened. They had enjoyed their weekend, seen extended family and there had been no sign of what was to come. As the time to leave got nearer Mum had sat them down to tell them something important. Mum told the children that seeing them every fortnight was very stressful and was very upsetting for her. She couldn’t handle the upset and had therefore decided to stop any contact whatsoever. There was no thought of the effect that this would have on the children, only the effect on Mum. No mention of what the children’s future held or when they would see their family again, simply about Mum and her feelings. It was not surprising that they were so emotional and upset. So we spent the rest of the evening trying to placate them and assure them that Mum would change her mind and that they will see her again soon.

The following day, the children went off to school with notes in their contact books making the schools aware of what had happened. We also spoke to the children’s Social Worker and our Supervising Social Worker. Efforts to contact Mum, by the Social Worker, failed and she was ignoring any attempt to contact her. Even a home visit resulted in the Social Worker having the door slammed in their face. A meeting was convened at our house. The meeting was held early afternoon so we could talk before the children came home. As Mum had made it clear that she no longer wanted contact there was nothing really anyone one could do. Trying to her convince her otherwise was pointless so it was decided that no further attempts would be made to talk to Mum and that it was down to us, as Foster Carers, to ensure that the children were found alternative ways of spending their weekends. The children were spoken to, by the Social Worker, and she made it clear that she had made many attempts to talk to Mum, but had failed. The children asked why Mum had acted like she had and the Social Worker had to admit that she didn’t know. She could only guess that Mum was suffering herself and couldn’t make a decision on what she wanted for her children. The children were upset but they now realised that both us, as Foster Carers, and their Social Worker, really wanted what was best for them.

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