I feel so strongly that successful care leavers ( who are emotionally damaged by trauma ) having been nurtured in a secure and loving home have the basic human right to a family life…… and some level of certainty about where they will be able to live next week ! The translation of the amazing Staying Put Policy, in practice at a local level certainly leaves much to be desired ……… and I felt duty bound to inform you of what it is actually like at a grass roots level.
My husband Peter and I have decided that the only course of action left open to us, is that he takes one of his pensions and uses the lump sum to pay off the balance of our mortgage.
The meeting for Alan did not take place as planned on 01.09.2020, as he was so stressed by the situation that he chose to use the savings that we had put away for him , to pay his rent for the year upfront. Once the Local Authority knew that he had done this, they stated that he had a home available for the next year and withdrew our funding , even though he does not plan to move into his college accommodation for the next 3+ weeks.
We found a solution, within our means. as we are old. I must say that younger carers would not have had this as an option and it could well tear them apart to be able to offer the support while needing to continue with other placements to pay their bills.
Our Fostering Agency did suggest that we could make a complaint to the Local Authority – but in reality – with another foster child in placement from the same family and having agreed a package of support for Alan’s sister for the next twelve months, our mental health is of greater value to us, in the midst of everything that a global pandemic has meant we must deal with.
The Local Authority Social worker has phoned Alan on less than a handful of occasions in the past 12+ months and may have set eyes on him once.
I am aghast that he feels ok about considering Alan as part of his “caseload”, when it is us who has fed, housed, supported ( including drying his tears ).
We will continue to love Alan and to do exactly what we have done for the last 7 years – at no cost to the state. While the Local Authority Social Worker takes his salary and ignores the fact that this young person even walks the planet and fails to check in with him regularly( in the middle of a Global Pandemic.)
The overhaul of the failing Care system is long overdue. Thank goodness for the empathy shown by our Supervising Social Worker and other professionals involved with the family , who have managed to keep us going through what has been a very fraught few weeks !
Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.