Still empty and still enjoying the peace and quiet before the next young person, or people, arrive on our doorstep in the back of a car driven by either a Social Worker or Police Officer. The arrival, in a Police car, always got the neighbour’s curtains twitching even though they knew what we did. It was funny to hear the remarks of some neighbours who thought that we were going to be inundated by hoodlums, waifs and strays. The lady who lived opposite was always interested in what we did and who we were caring for and was always happy to pop over to say hello. She told us how she had been adopted, during the war, and understood what it was like, as a child, entering a strange house and meeting strange people. It was actually very useful for us to listen to her explain her feelings when she first went to her adoptive parents. Of course we had attended courses where we had received training around new arrivals and how to introduce them to your home but to actually hear from somebody who had experienced all the emotions around walking into a strange house was very useful. My late, own Mum was adopted too. This was back in the day when being born out of wedlock was considered bad enough for the Mother to be put into a psychiatric hospital and the child adopted. Although Mum’s mum was not put in hospital she was ‘persuaded’ to put my Mum up for adoption. Even on my Dad’s side of the family there had been various children adopted due to family ‘issues’. I’m not sure how adoption was organised in the first half of the 1900s but it was obviously not as secure as it is nowadays. There were no DBS checks and no Police computer systems to check on applicant’s backgrounds and any crimes committed.

It is quite scary to think of how many people slipped through the net and the number of children who were affected by the ‘wrong kind’ of people being involved in adoption. Sometimes we take for granted the systems in place how safe it is for young people in the care system.  Yes, sometimes we know that bad things still happen but it’s a very rare occurrence. The whole system of Form F’s and the six months of being interviewed by Social Workers can be intrusive but it is 100% necessary to protect young people and Foster Carers. Having your family and friends spoken to, ex partners, work colleagues and others only helps you to be protected from false accusations and allegations. We have to accept that allegations are part of the work we do and that there are people around who will resent your role as a Foster Carer in the same way that they resent Social Workers and anyone else involved in their children being removed from their care. The placement that had been moved on were placed in care at their families request but, in the end, the family resented us and social services having ‘control’ over their children and, frankly, created an unpleasant atmosphere for us, the Social Worker and even their own children. The reason for their behaviour was not something I can understand but I am sure they have their reasons. We had received a couple of calls regarding new placements which were both short notice but we all know, as Foster Carers, how short term placements can suddenly become anything but short term.

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