Our Foster Carer life had finally settled down and all four children we were looking after had some quiet and relaxing routine in their lives. There was no contact for any of them and, therefore, no respite for us. We had discussed the possibility of a summer break with our Supervising Social Worker and they were going to talk to both Social Workers to try to organise something. We felt that given the circumstances of the second placement, which was supposed to be for a weekend, and all the stress from the Mum, it would be only fair for us to have some time out even if it was just a week. We had managed to get all four looked after children into four different schools. The boy, who was the eldest of our Looked After Children, attended a local Secondary School. The eldest girl attended a girl’s only local Secondary School and the youngest girl attended a local junior school. The remaining Looked After Child, from our initial sibling group, attended a local Infants School. The eldest boy took a bus to school and back and we ferried the eldest girl to her school. We also dropped the youngest two off but their schools were within easy walking distance. It took military precision to get them all up and ready in the mornings as well as our own children who also went to a different school but caught the bus there. Our own two got up first as they had to leave the earliest, the eldest Looked After Child then got up as he was next out of the door. The three girls were the last to get up and normally moaned about the state of the bathroom after the boys had used it. Once the children had left for school it would be time for us to update our fostering logs and make any phone calls that were needed. We would also complete our accounts with the help of some software a local bank had provided for us. This enabled us to keep and record of our spending and we were able to share this with whoever wanted it. It was worth its weight in gold when their Mum was complaining about what we spent on clothing and pocket money for the young people.
Although some people seemed to think our accounts were over the top and uncalled for, it was our belief that transparency, especially with money, was very important. We generally knew what each child had and what would need. Obviously underwear and sleepwear were regular purchases as well as casual clothes. These were bought from various shops which specialised in the cheaper end of the market. School clothes were bought from school outfitters and would be the main expense for the children. The children had access to Sky TV so they could watch films, sport, and children’s TV. We had to ensure that everybody had a fair opportunity to choose what to watch, so the youngest two would use the TV as soon as they got in. Then the two older children and our own children would watch their programmes after dinner and after they completed their homework. Contact with the school was mainly via email or contact books. We had the occasional face to face catch up to discuss the young people and how they were coping with school work and their relationships with other pupils. The two older children had been slightly awkward, socially, and we had worked hard to help them fitting in with other people.