We had a call from the children’s Social Worker today regarding their elder sibling, who was with another Foster Carer. Apparently she never came from school and after some frantic searching it was discovered that she was with her Mum at home. The Police had visited but they had no cause for concern so had left her there. That came as a surprise to us given what Mum had said to the three siblings under our care. We spoke to the Social Worker about what we should say to them as they had weekly chats on the telephone. It was decided that we should tell them as we wanted to maintain a pattern of honesty with them. So after dinner we sat them down and told them what had happened. They were upset, they couldn’t understand why their older sibling was ‘allowed’ to go home and yet they weren’t even allowed to see their Mum for contact. It was a question we couldn’t really answer. We were asked, understandably, if Mum would reconsider her decision about contact and we promised we would call their Social Worker the following day. They went to bed upset. So the next day we spoke to their Social Worker and passed on what they had asked but apparently Mum’s phone was not taking any calls after the eldest child’s decision to go home. She promised that she would keep trying. We decided to have a chat with the eldest child’s Foster Carer and see if there had been any clues as to why she had left. We got on well with the other Foster Carer and we knew she would be honest with us. It was her belief that it had all been planned in some way. She was going to make some enquiries with the couple of friends she had made at school. She said she would call back in a couple of days. Sure enough, a couple of days later she called us.

After making some enquiries she had found out quite a lot. The Mum of one of her friends said the she had been fed a story about how Social Services had dragged them away from home, in the middle of the night and had refused to let them go home or see Mum and family. She had been fed a real sob story and, based on that, had felt genuinely sorry for the young person. She was then asked if Mum could call her, which she agreed to. Mum then reinforced the ‘story’ about the kids being snatched away rather than the planned removal which had genuinely happened. Mum asked if she could send a gift to the older sibling to her home rather than the Foster Carer’s address as the Foster Carer would tell lies. The friend’s Mum said yes and gave her address. It turned out that the ‘present’ was a cheap, Pay as you Go mobile. Using the phone it was then organised for Mum’s new partner to collect her one morning when she was on her way to school. So it was all planned, all arranged. We were still unsure as to why she wanted her home when she had told the three younger siblings it was too upsetting for her too see them. The Foster carer had told the Social Worker what she had found out but there was little she could do. There wasn’t, apparently, any safety issues so there were no grounds to remove her. We were unsure about what to tell the three children with us. Would the same trick be used with them?

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