So we were now down to no contact for any of our looked after children. That, in itself, wasn’t really a major issue because, as Foster Carers, we were used to young people not always having family contact but these young people had enjoyed contact with family and it was being stopped, by Mum, for no real fault of the children. I think the children were genuinely upset by Mum’s decision, as it had completely out of the blue. We had explained to them that none of this was their fault, but I have a feeling that Mum had convinced them that it was, at least, partially, their fault. Mum had a habit of persuading the children things that were not factually correct, for instance she had told the children that they were snatched from their beds, in the middle of the night, by Social Services, when in fact it had been arranged and pre planned for several days before they moved.  So it was down to us to find ways of keeping the children entertained at the weekend, when they would have been at Mum’s. The eldest child was now 15 and it was feasible for him to find his own things to do. He had friends that he had made at school and they were all into skateboarding. In our local park there was a skateboard rink and it was decided that he could spend time there. I went off with him to buy a skateboard of his own and he was delighted with this purchase. He also got a helmet and pads for his knees and elbows; he was less keen on this as none of his friends wore them. I told him that they were there for his safety but it was up to him if he wore them. So that was one sorted, just two to go. Both of the other children had friends but they were younger and we weren’t keen on having them just roaming the street. So we told them that they could go to friend’s house or the friends could come to us.

However any arrangements would have to be agreed between us and their friend’s parents. They both seemed happy with this plan. Obviously if they wanted to do nothing then they needed to let us know that too. We told them that if they were not going out they could help with chores around the house, in the hope that it would encourage them to organise activities. But we were now better organised and we didn’t have to deal with the children coming home from contact with either attitude or the ‘hump’ due to Mum winding them up. The only unknown for the children was not knowing when they would see family again. Would it be weeks, months or even years? We had let that various schools know what had happened in order to keep them in the picture, in case there was any change in behaviour. Strangely, all the schools came back to us and said that there was an improvement in them. When they had contact their behaviour was not too good on Mondays and Tuesdays but now that wasn’t the case.  In the house they were certainly more level and not so moody. I think they realised that this was their life now and no amount of making a fuss would change that.

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