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The referral of a mother, Maddie, 21 years old, and her two children who were both under 3 years old seemed to indicate risk and serious parenting capacity concerns.
Maddie arrived to foster carer Christine on her 21st birthday, devoid of any family support or communication, and was welcomed to placement with a small gift on her bed. Nexus Fostering’s first impression of the mother was that she had made good material provision for the children and observation suggested a strong attachment, interaction and bond between all three. She seemed to lack support and help but the level of concern expressed by the allocated worker appeared unsupported by Maddie’s efforts she had already made with her children.
The level of intervention and scrutiny requested seemed questionable. Given the differing views of the placing social worker and the foster carer, and the individual personality styles of both, the agency worked with the carer to present more objective evidence of mum’s competence. Christine learnt to substantiate the evidence in her recording by corroborating views of other professionals in the network (health visitor, Sure Start, nursery staff etc.)
Mum was severely lacking in confidence so Christine’s low-level affirming praise went a long way to helping her feel like a mother who was actually doing a good job rather than someone who needed ‘policing’ at every step. Over time, Christine taught mum how to focus on talking about the children more and not get emotional and surly with the social worker. In the end the children provided the evidence themselves; passing their developmental checks with progress indicators well over and above their age. The family are now living together independently in the community. Mum couldn’t thank the carer enough.