Tuesday, 23 February 2010

23-Feb 2010

We had the meeting with our social worker and her peers yesterday.  The first piece of news to tell you is that matching panel is definitely cancelled and has not been rescheduled.  Because there are still all these meetings to be booked and held, it may not be rescheduled until April or May as the local authority only holds matching panel once a month :(

The meeting went very well.  All the social workers had read the (old) paperwork and were up to speed with the facts as we know them so far.  We discussed how good a match it was (looking at what the children need and what we can offer) and they all recommended that the match was very good.  We looked at why those children and what we like about them.  We looked at the support packages that we want the local authority to provide - obviously some negotiations to be had there!  We looked at theraputic packages (e.g. theraplay / counselling for the children and us if needed), financial packages (e.g. settling-in allowance - a one off payment per child such as £200, adoption allowance - £10 per month per child), expences for introductions (e.g. hotel, petrol and subsidence costs) and so on.  By the way the figures quoted are just ideas, we may get more or we might not get anything!

The local authority is obliged to provide what has been agreed in the support package for the first three years after placement (when the children come to live with us).  Then any support needed after that comes back to our local authority.  just because it has been agreed doesn't automatically mean we get it - we have to prove that it is needed and that's where our agency will be able to support us with that.

So we left the meeting happy that the match is a good one and disappointed that we had no further dates in the diary.  A yawning abyss in front of us.

Then on the way home Mungo's phone rang, it was our social worker to say that during the meeting the children's social worker had emailed her a date for us to meet up!  Wooo hooo!  At last some more movement!  We are to meet Midge, Tidge and Squidge's new social worker on 4th March - she has been their social worker for three months now and we havent met them yet!  Apparently the delay was because she had to UPDATE the paperwork, not read it.  The CPR (info on the children) is a year old, so we actually dont mind the delay because there's going to be some benefit for us.  We have been waiting for the updated paperwork since November and it is a show-stopper, in that if we don't get to read it then we will refuse to go to matching panel.  We don't know how the children have changed in a year.

We are still angry that matching panel has been put back but we are happy that the link is still on. We just hope the new social worker likes us when she meets us!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

17-Feb 2010

After the meeting with our social worker on 8th February we were expecting a flurry of phone calls and meeting dates to get the ball rolling.  Well, we have heard nothing - we are not surprised but very disappointed.  Mungo contacted our social worker yesterday to ask what was going on but she was out of the office so he called her back this morning.  She has advised that she has heard nothing at all.  There are no dates in the diary for any meetings.  She also conceded that the panel date of 5th March was looking dodgy.

The children have a new social worker and apparently they need more time to read the paperwork.  Now here's the thing: this social worker has been their social worker since December as far as we know.  They took the case to court in February for the Care Order and Placement Order to be granted.  So what on earth is it that they need to read that wasn't pertinent for the court case??!? <--- The amount of punctuation show the amount of anger and frustration we are feeling!

We found out some interesting news about half siblings: following the court case, the judge wants us to maintain contact with them and we are happy with that as it will only be letterbox.  Put it this way, if it's face-to-face then we will say no, because these half siblings apparently still have contact with birth mum and we need to keep the whereabouts of Midge, Tidge and Squidge safe from the birth family.

We have a meeting on 22nd February with our social worker and two of her peers, to go through the paperwork we have and identify anything that might be missing or identify anything that might be a show-stopper to matching panel.  Some movement at last.

This should be a fantastic part of the process, very exciting and nervy, but we are angry and frustrated; it is getting us both down and we are really struggling with it all.  :(

Monday, 8 February 2010

08-Feb 2010

Today saw the visit of our social worker for the first time in ages - basically because there wasn't anything to meet about! Well now there is :D !!  We talked about the next step and the likely dates for introductions (early April).  We have meetings to attend and an introductions book to make.  This is the book that the children (who will get one each) will be given to introduce us to them.  The foster carer will be given them after matching panel, for her to use to help them to get used to us.  They will be the children's own books for them to use as much as they want.  We had lots of questions to ask and we had a lot of them answered.  There are some that the social worker and family finder will have to answer too.  And we have a list as long as your arm of questions for the foster carer!  Roll on 5th March!

Friday, 5 February 2010

05-Feb 2010

THE CARE ORDER AND PLACEMENT ORDER HAVE BEEN GRANTED!!!!!   Wooo hooo!!!  You don't know how happy and relieved we are!!!

The final hurdle of matching panel is pencilled in for 5th March.  We have a meeting on Monday to plan meetings with foster carer, eldest's school, new social worker and pediatrician.  Hopefully, we will have all the meetings before matching panel.

Thanks everyone for all your support and best wishes.  Have a GREAT weekend!!!!!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

04-Feb 2010

Still waiting for the phone call.  Nothing to report.  Very frustrated and at the end of my patience.  Wondering how we will cope with having to deal with this over the weekend if we don't hear anything tomorrow :(