We received a call from the Social Worker of the young girl from our previous sibling group placement. A decision has been made that she is to be returned to Mum along with two of her siblings. We were surprised at this decision and asked whether Mum had completed her rehabilitation, which was one of the criteria of her having her children back. The answer was no. When we queried this we were basically told they had changed their mind. We spoke to our Supervising Social Worker who said that it was really up to the young person’s Social Worker and her team as to whether Mum was in a fit state to recommence parenting duties. My own personal belief is that, given the level of abuse the children had suffered, it was highly risky for the children to be returned when there was no evidence that she was not involved in taking drugs and prostitution. But the decision isn’t ours to make and Social Workers get paid to make these decisions.  A date was set and we sat and told her what was happening. She was very unsure about moving back with Mum and her main issue seemed to be the fact that her eldest brother, who had returned to live with his Dad, wasn’t going to be reunited with her other two brothers. The eldest sibling had been important in providing for his younger three brothers and sister and the fact that he wasn’t going to be there seemed to be an issue. We organised a family get together to say goodbye as our family, and extended family, had really formed a strong attachment with her over the period of time she was with us. Every Foster Carer probably had a child placed with them that will always be remembered at this young lady was ours. We had a lovely day and there were some tears when the get together ended. She had made a lot of friends at school and they had also been in attendance. There were lots of promises about staying in touch but, I had a feeling that Mum wouldn’t want this. So the big day arrived and her Social Worker turned up but not Mum.

Mum had decided that she didn’t want to see us and that was fine with us. So she left and we sat and had a bit of chat and remembered some of the times we’d had with her. My wife then made a comment that, later, proved to be true. She stated that she thought we were going to get an allegation from Mum regarding the young lady and the care that we had provided for her. Sure enough, a few weeks later, our Supervising Social Worker visited to say that an allegation had been made that my wife had slapped the young girl and that she was constantly hungry as we rarely fed her. Was I angry? Yes, very. When you get an allegation from a parent who had neglected and abused their children to the degree she had, then it does make you very angry, and this was no different. The allegation was quickly disproved and there were no concerns from the young girl’s Social Worker. We know that all allegations are taken seriously so we were fully understanding of the Social Worker’s having to talk to us about it. It took a few days to get used to not having her around and we did miss her a lot. We never heard from her or her family again and that’s a shame.

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