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Frequency of contact in long-term care Expand / Collapse
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Posted 11/11/2011 11:31:52 AM


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nanny76 (8/11/2011)
Yes - Its actually nice to come across another carer who also struggles with the frequency of contact.

Our situation is pretty full-on as well and if I had my time again to choose whether to foster these particular children again knowing their contact situation I would have said "Sorry but No".

I think it is really important that Foster carers are made fully aware of the big part contact can play in fostering.


Our 2 FD's (siblings) have 3 hour contacts over 70 times per year (6/month)!!! - yes its true.

We have had the girls for over 3 years and they are now 9 and 7. They have been in permanent care for over 6 years and the contact arrangements have always been this way due to a court order that was never rectified. The girls don't know anything different.

Thus the girls have very strong attachments to their birth parents and have struggled over the years to attach to us. We are a close family these days (these are our only kids!) but the contact arrangements really take over your life and have affects on the way our family functions most weekends.

When the contacts aren't cancelled and the parents show up - they have lots of fun and can't wait till they do it again next week! So this just reinforces the fantasy of how great things are with "Mum and Dad". The girls never know how much organising, sacrifice and frustration goes on behind the scenes of this circus each week.


The contact arrangements are in the process of being reduced to once/month which will help the girls get on with their lives and also help them feel a bit more " permanent" with us.

This of course will take some time to process. To give you an idea of how attached these girls are to contact - these girls will choose to go to contact even if they are sick! - which is disturbing!

We are also in the process of adopting the girls - but I wonder whether they want to be adopted considering how close their bond is with their parents - I feel as though the damage has been done and these girls will struggle with not seeing them as often and see us as the enemy that is getting in the way of them seeing Mum and Dad!


keep at it and hopefully things will improve - I need to stay positive too - its hard enough parenting traumatized kids let alone dealing with lots of contact!

They say it "is in the best interests of the kids" but at what cost?

xxxAnnette

We get the same speech.  MY POINT EXACTLY..... BUT AT WHAT COST.  My foster son has just written a letter to DoCS regarding access.  Wish us luck.

Zeeta 27 NSW

Post #64365
Posted 17/11/2011 10:43:26 AM
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Hi Zeeta

Good luck with that - I think he definitely should be able to have some say in regards to his contact arrangements (he is about 8 years old?)

I have a slightly opposite scenario in that our girls can't wait to go to contact.

However given the choice of contact or some other fun activity they usually say the "other activity" these days (they have come a long way in confidence - wasn't always like this)

That has only come about because I have told them again and again over the years that they actually have some say in what they want to do (shock,horror!)

In the early days if there was a fun activity they were to be part of ( school event/birthday party etc) at the same time as contact they would have just sadly accepted they should go to contact and not question this.

They are very confused and struggle with loyalties still but now they are older they are starting to question things more and put themselves first.

I don't think I will ever have them straight out refuse to go to contact (its way too much fun!)
but at least they know they have rights and get a say (I believe as foster carers one of our jobs is to be the childs advocate)

I think it is a very powerful thing that your FS is writing to express his feelings regarding contact - all the best with this!
Post #64523
Posted 17/11/2011 11:14:51 AM
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Hi Solo!

Just thought that I would mention the conversation that I had with the caseworker yesterday regarding contact. She said that in their program, their permanent placements at the absolute worst case scenario would only have contact 8 times per year. Normal would be 4-6 times per year, generally it's only one day for a 2-4 hours each school holidays (4 times per year). She said that the reason for this is to allow the child to bond with their new family, as ultimately, they won't ever be going back to their birth parents. They see them, as it's important to have the understanding of who you are and where you come from, but the contact is very limited.

She also mentioned that once adopted (if the case), the contact would either stay the same, or in some cases drop back even further.

I have to admit that after reading some of the "horror" stories about contact visits, I was very relieved.

Hope this helps!

Storkless
Post #64526
Posted 17/11/2011 6:40:55 PM


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HOOORAAAAAYYY.  We got a response from the caseworker re my FS's letter.  The response phone call was positive.  A reduction from 3 hours to 1.  Victory!!!! But I need to get this in writing.  Contact has not been made with the birth mum and likely she will not agree.  We will not be too excited yet.  Promises are not true promises with the dept until it is in writing.  The wheels could still fall off but fingers crossed.

I will keep you all posted.

Zeeta 27 NSW

Post #64539
Posted 17/11/2011 9:36:53 PM
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That's great news Zeeta. I hope that they follow through with this.

Storkless thanks for your info - that all sounds like the sort of level of contact I expected at the beginning. Just remember to confirm that when you are offered a placement!

Cheers

Solo
Post #64547
Posted 7/12/2011 8:37:49 PM
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I was told the biological parents (I am forever mum) have the legal right to see the children 4 times a year for 2 hours each time.
When I went to court for Permanent Placement of my 3 darlings, the judge overturned ALL parental rights and responsibilities. The children have not seen their parents since they were removed (over 4 years ago).
I pick up child number 4 this week (same parents) but at this point the parents still have the right to see him. That probably won't change.
Post #65048
Posted 1/01/2012 4:24:31 PM
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My teenaged FD had contact twice a week (3hrs on one day and 2 hrs on another) with extra contact on Christmas, New Year, birthdays, Mothers' Day etc. 

The constant contact may have been deemed necessary because she has a medical condition and the expectation was that after she turned 18 she would need to be looked after by her mother, her grandmother (or someone else) even though she would be too old for DoCS to continue to be responsible for her.

Well, she never bonded with me and the Department treated me like I was an unpaid lifestyle support worker rather than a foster carer. She also treated me like I was running a bed and breakfast for her rather than being her carer.

I believe that the frequency of contact was a deciding factor in the breakdown of the placement. The times she became abusive, violent and/or ran away from home were always when she came home after contact. Either her mother showed up and the contact was emotionally intense for my FD who would come home and take it out on me, or her mother didn't show up so my FD felt rejected and came home and took it out on me. For almost a year, there were two evenings each week which were quite horrific.

Post #65460
Posted 3/01/2012 7:21:02 AM
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Snoopymugs - I'm so sorry to hear that the placement broke down. It sounds like it was very intense though and the situation required a lot more support than you were getting. Your physical and emotional safety should have been taken into consideration as well as your foster daughter's




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