Angel Messages and how they can help.
I feel quite vulnerable writing about the allegations made against us as foster carers last year, as it leaves me open to being judged again, attacked and misunderstood. However, the angel messages I have been receiving recently from the angels, through Angel Card Readings are that it is time to share bit more of my story, for it will help others and help you get to know me a bit better. I have been hiding away in lots of ways this last year, to protect myself and heal – I can’t explain how awful it is to have your morality and very being, attacked and condemned in this way.
I do Angel Card Readings for myself (and others) quite often in my ordinary life, there is nothing spectacular or paranormal about them to me. I find them very comforting and it amazes me how I always get the angel messages I need to hear. They can often give reassurance that you are on the right path, they may give reassurance that things are going to work out or help you see things from a new perspective.
So here goes. Last year we had an allegation made against us by a young person in our care as foster parents. This resulted in the Local Authority substantiating the claim on just her say so. We were never asked our side or for any evidence to disprove what she said, from what I understand the meeting turned in to a bit of a witch hunt. This, as you can imagine, was devastating and we didn’t even have the support of our fostering agency as our supervising social worker was in on that meeting, and never spoke up for us or said that it was against protocol to make such a decision without hearing both sides. When she came to tell us why the children had been moved, her attitude was cold and damming. This was the final straw and after seven years we resigned. I remember saying to the Social Worker, “ I am done”, meaning my conscious is clear and I am no longer going to put up with being treated so badly and having to justify everything I do. Fostering at best, is very invasive into your home life. She asked if there was anything we wanted her to do and I said “ You can leave now” . That felt good.
Then set about clearing our name with the Local Authority, by following the official complaint procedures. I was prepared to take it all the way to the Government Ombusman.
It is my belief that the young person said these things, because she thought if she did, she would be sent home and to deflect the heat away from her own behaviour. She would often use the “victim card” to manipulate people and she would even boast about this on occasions. I don’t have anger toward her, for she was young and had no concept of the effect her words would have on us. She would frequently lie and blame us for things. For example, to get herself out of trouble for forgetting her trainers, she told the headmistress that she didn’t have any as hers were to small and I had refused to buy her any. Of course this was not true, but it was reported to social services, phone calls and reports were made and I explained that her trainers were in fact sitting at home. I had offered to buy her a second pair for school, but she didn’t want this as she wanted to take her Nike pair to school as they were cool. These were regular patterns of behaviour we had to deal with.
The day she had talked to her support worker and made allegations, was following on from being rather pissed off that her attempt to get a day off school had backfired. She had pretended to have drunk some alcohol in the night and claimed she had passed out on the kitchen floor. I came down the stairs at 6.30 am to find her sitting on the sofa saying I am sorry, I am drunk I don’t know why I did it. At first my concern was her health and if she was ok, to say I was shocked and lost for words was an understatement! I quickly got her to bed and gave her water and phoned the doctor. As my call was being put through, my husband asked, has she really drunk it? If she passed out in the kitchen as she claimed then why was she sitting on the sofa with the bottle neatly displayed beside her? Also how come she looked sober, no sweats, no slurring and no vomiting? Given she was a very slight 10 year old, if she had drunk the alcohol she would not have looked normal!
After a quick chat with the doctor, the doctor agreed that if she seemed well, then no action was required. I next spoke to school and the key worker agreed she should come to school and they would keep an eye on her. I have a nursing background and that this stage was convinced that this had all been staged for attention and a day off school. She did struggle with friendships and had been used to getting days off school before coming in to care. It was concerning to us that she had felt it necessary to act this way and we didn’t want to accuse her of lying as this could cause even more problems. So instead we told that we were concerned that she felt she had to do this and were here if she wanted to talk about it, but that it had broken our trust. We said that there were going to be consequences for this behaviour and that her mobile phone was going to be confiscated for a week and she had lost her front seat privileges on school journeys for a week. This was mainly so I didn’t have to look at her long face on the half an hour journey! After school, we talked about how now as a result of her behaviour some of the things we were working towards, for example, walking to the local shop on her own, would have to be put on hold. We explained that this was because our trust was broken and before we let her have that freedom back, we needed to know that she was not going to do something else that might put her in danger. We had a good conversation and there were hugs, tears and apologies. I thought we were getting somewhere, but the damage had already been done, we had been reported.
This young lady had only been with us for about three months and wasn’t used to having boundaries or consequences. This often very difficult for the young people who come in to care to understand and they can see it as harsh. This is when you need to be able to work together with your own Social Worker and the Local Authority team, so that you are all working together and agree on boundaries and all support each other to present a united front. This didn’t happen in this case. The Local Authority never arranged the team meetings we were supposed to have had. Our own agency let us down badly too, we had no support or visits for months. Our Social Worker hadn’t arranged to see the children once, so she had no idea of the dynamics we faced.
When an allegation is made, the young people are usually removed. In this case, that meant a change of placement for her and her younger brother, which was really sad as he was just beginning to settle down.
Next a strategy meeting is held, often in secret from the foster carers. The foster carers will not know what the allegation is while it is being investigated.
A some point the foster carers should be interviewed and can give any evidence – although they still may not know what they are accused of. This can be by an the Local Authority or the police. Then a further meeting is called, again without the foster carers, where a decision is made to uphold and substantiate the allegation or to dismiss it as unsubstantiated.
In our case, this procedure was not followed and we were not given the opportunity to provide any evidence, but it went straight to being upheld and we had a finding of emotional neglect found against us.
I would often feel that fighting to get justice was overwhelming. I put together over 70 pages of evidence. Other allegations I had to dispute as part of this were that were we didn’t let her have phone calls to her family as determined by the court. I downloaded pages and pages of telephone records to show this was not true. She said we never let her see her friends and again, I had loads of text messages arranging shopping trips, sleepovers and playdates , etc. I had to look back through weeks of reports and emails to prove that we were not neglectful, but instead always but the children’s needs first. At times I didn’t think it was worth the hours of putting a case together. I just wanted to put it behind us. But I didn’t want this on our record, even though we have no intention of ever fostering again.
When I needed some encouragement to keep going, I would do an Angel Card Reading for myself to get the angel messages I needed. On one occasion I pulled “The Justice” card three times in a row. Other cards would talk of being heard and finding your voice. The angel cards gave me comfort and reassurance during this time. They gave me the support to carry on, knowing that justice would be done. They are not used to predict the future but to give you the angel messages you need to hear.
The fight was a long one, but we won. The allegation was overturned to unsubstantiated and we got an unreserved apology from both the Local Authority and our Fostering Agency. Protocol and procedures were tightened up as a result of our complaint. We also received several thousand pounds in compensation.
It was a horrid experience. I can’t explain quite how awful it was and how it makes you doubt yourself at times. My friends were so supportive and having people believe in you means so much. At times you can lose your faith and begin to believe the horrid things you are being accused of. The experience has left me wiser but cynical, stronger and proud that I managed to see it through and get an apology. It has also left me feeling sad that I am no longer a foster carer, as I loved it (most of the time!) and know we made a positive difference to some very special children. I have a good friend going through a similar thing at the moment and it is good to be able to draw on my experience to help support her.
“Be gentle when you judge people, for if you have not walked in their shoes, you don’t really know what their story is.” Anna x
I have just looked up and watched a white feather float down at my feet! So I think that is the sign I need to press send. I love the perfect timing of the angel messages! I will be brave and take this next step and share this story.
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