The rest of the half term was spent pretty much indoors with the exception of a trip to the cinema. The weather was awful and none of the kids, ours included, didn’t feel inclined to do much. Their eldest sister, who was back with Mum, called on a number of occasions to talk to her younger siblings, but we had been told, by their Social Worker to simply refer her to Social Services. However, the last time she called she asked us to tell the other children that they would be ‘coming home soon’. We made the Social Worker aware of this and she told us that she had made an appointment to see Mum in order to ascertain exactly what Mum wanted and to see if she wanted to restart contact. She said she would update us once the meeting was held. We didn’t let the children know what was happening as we didn’t want to raise their hopes given Mum’s habit of changing her mind. The children all returned to school after half term and everything appeared to be calm and settled. The three of them weren’t delighted to be going back to school but neither were our two. The eldest sibling came home a little upset as he had been mocked by a couple of other boys for being in care. We sat him down and got the details about what had happened and he told us the name of the boys involved. The next day we rang the school and spoke to the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) at the school. We made her aware of what had happened and gave her the names of the boys involved. When the young man got home he told us that he had been called into an office, by the SENCO, and that the boys involved were in there too. Both boys apologised and shook his hand which I felt was a nice touch. He was then worried as the boys approached him at break time but they both wanted to apologise again as they had been made aware, by the SENCO, how difficult life was being in care and that they both felt bad about what they had said. The next day we received a call from the Social Worker to update us on her trip to see Mum.

Mum was gloating about the fact that her eldest had returned home and there was nothing that Social Services could do about it. She also said that she wanted the children returned one by one and not at the same time and that if she needed to use the same tactics as she had with the eldest, then she would do. The Social Worker reminded Mum that she was the one who placed the children in care and that they had not been taken away from her. She also asked Mum to consider the upheaval it was causing the children and the upset the younger three had felt that their elder sibling was at home and they were not. Mum basically said that she wasn’t concerned about that and that it had been positive having the eldest at home as she helped with child care and around the house. The Social Worker asked why she wasn’t at school and Mum came out with her standard response that children could learn more watching TV at home than at school. Mum then asked if she could be paid the Foster Carer allowance for the eldest child. This was, of course, refused by the Social Worker.

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