Vikki, a foster parent from FCA Eastern completed 10 days respite for two young boys and rather than the boys coming to stay with her, she moved into their home. Vikki has written a blog about her experience and how she thinks it would feel to be a looked after child.
I attended my local support group in Norwich in April this year. A conversation between social workers and my self-started how they need some respite in Ipswich for 10 days for two boys. I explained that I was free, but it was about an hour and half school run. The idea came up that perhaps I could move in to their house. As I have no ties at mine I could not see why not. My only stipulation was no animals I just don’t do animals. I was not worried about moving in as I had been a nanny many years ago.
My supervising social worker contacted the foster carers and they were in agreement and thought it was good the children could stay in their own home. So my own issue was I don’t know Ipswich so I started googling the area and a short time later I went to Ipswich to meet the family and the house. It did me good to be in their shoes, the shoes of a foster child, trusting a social worker that she would take me to the right house, in an area I did not know to stay in a stranger’s home. I had to be shown how to use the household appliances, where the fuse box was, first aid to name a few. Things I knew in your own home. But I was soon made welcome and met the boys when they returned from school who were seven and eight years old.
I was returning early the next morning if I could find the place on my own after staying in a hotel in Ipswich. The next day I meet up with Ted who showed me the area the school, hospital, sports club, contact centre and the park. I stayed with the family that night as they were off on holiday early the next morning. The boys where no trouble and we soon got in to our 10 day holiday too. I had taken some dvd’s and books, and some treats to make the time special for them but keeping to the same bedtime routine.
Would I do it again? Yes, I am back in Ipswich in June. If this could be an idea for your family you can just talk to your supervising social worker, even if it means your beloved pets might have to go to the kennels or cattery.
Being in a different area was the hardest part, but on reflection I reminded myself that this is how it is for the young people who we look after and made me look back to my fostering start all the 15 years ago and perhaps I had forgotten how it is for them in their shoes.
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