Diary – A personal take on the working week

Monday: I have several young people regularly missing or not staying where they are supposed to be, so I start with a morning call around to foster carers – a crucial part of supporting the placements. Worryingly a 14-year-old girl has managed to sneak an older boy into her placement in the night without the carer’s knowledge. I will gather more information when I visit tomorrow. We have our multi-disciplinary team meeting, where the team manager struggles to convert us to the joys of hot desking and working out of the office. I am usually a supporter of new ideas and change, but am not surprised when the meeting ends gloomily with demands for better pay. The breakfast has lost its crunch.

Tuesday: Visit the foster carer with the manager of our child and adolescent mental health service to try and offer support. She says that she heard loud thumps on the floorboards at the weekend, but did not connect that there was someone in the house who shouldn’t be. We have a useful session discussing the girl’s lack of attachments and mistrust in adults. I come up with the creation of a supportive texting network using some positive figures around her.

Wednesday: Review meeting at a family centre to discuss a mother’s supervised contact sessions with her teenage son. She cancels at the last moment, and once again the professionals talk a great deal without the person we really need to be engaging with. The mothers latest idea is to go for an extended skate round Hyde Park with him. It’s supposed to be supervised contact, but somehow I don’t see the contact worker getting fitted for rollerblades anytime soon.

Thursday: By the seaside to visit a teenage boy with borderline Asperger’s. He has just returned from a successful holiday abroad with his carers and other foster children. As he has been at school, I don’t get to see him until after 4.30pm. I feel bad that I am already planning which train I need to take to get back to London, as if I am not careful I won’t pass through my own door until after 10pm. He loves football, and would like to be a reporter. It reminds me of my own childhood ambition to be a football commentator, and my bedroom-made radio shows. I look forward to spending more time with him in the school summer holidays.

Friday: Start with a complicated meeting about a joint special guardianship application. I write a few “to do” notes, but with a hint of the smugness that comes with the final day of the week and knowing I won’t get a chance to work on them until next week. Late in the afternoon I try and see the mother of a girl being looked after in an educational placement out of London. She lives very close to where I used to live, and when she is not in, my feet begin to carry me in the direction of my old flat. I then realise, and start my new commute. How hard to break from the old attachments.

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