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Hi

 

Need some ideas and advice.

 

We have a little girl who has recently returned to living with her mum (along with brother/ sister 3-5) after 5 months with a foster carer. Her apperarnce is beginning to go down hill (dirty, shabby clothes, levels of cleanliness etc), frequently does not want to go home with mum at the end of the session (although this is lessening). Just some background.

 

This half term she has started to take items belonging to other children (hair bands etc, pictures made in class that she has taken from the going home box, frequent claims that items belong to her). We now ask mum if these belong to her and mum either doesn't know or says no. Mum's response is very negative (calls her a thief etc) so we are now reluctant to ask mum. When we have tried to talk to her she is adamnat that the items are hers (even when we know that they are not). She seems to be struggling generally and not making the progress that was expected (she was a rising three and was very happy and settles/ foster carer spent a lot of time playing/ offerening opportunities such as own toys/ holidays). What can we do a s she seems to be struggling in some many ways .

 

Mum became involved after a prolonged period of irregular contact, prior to that her contact with school was sporadic and she did appear to neglect the children (I taught the 5 year old last year).

 

Have raised concerns with head teacher and we do discuss in our FS meetings, but I'm concerned that a once happy little gril, is no unhappy. What can I do

 

Help

 

lisa

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In playgroup I would have phoned the Area child protection committee for advice. Doesnt the little girl have a case worker or somone else checking the family? How about the schools child protection policy/officer, I used to have procedures in place for events such as this? We'd write down any concerns with dates and what we saw/heard and the next step would have been a direct call to Social services or advice from the ACPC. Sorry I cant offer real advice, having luckily never been in the situation it's hard to know exactly what to do. Hope it gets sorted.

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I agree with Rea, this is a child protection issue, and you should refer to your child protection officer.

"Stealing" is a common behaviour of children within the "care" system, for many reasons. She needs lots of support with her social and emotional needs. Could you maybe let her have a box in the classroom that is for her to keep her special items in, a place where she knows she can put her things and that they will stay safe. Encourage mum to let her bring a personal possession into school that she can keep in this box. This may help her to build her sense of security, sense of belonging and self esteem.

Use this box to promote discussions on what things are special to her, why they are, to talk about home life in general, without any pressure. Later you could bring up the subject of how she would feel if items were lost or taken from her "special" box.

 

Hopefully by reporting this as a Child protection issue, support from which ever agencies are necessary will be given to this family as soon as possible, and this little girl can begin to flourish and develop again.

 

good luck.

 

Peggy

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It's so sad - clearly the child is very unsettled as anyone would expect. It seems to me that you don't have very much information to go on which is also making it difficult for you. Are you aware or is it just hearsay as to the reasons why she was with a foster carer in the first place , there could be many and they could be for all sorts of reasons. The fact that Mum seems to be slightly neglecting her may mean that she needs help herself to deal with these issues so she can cope. Is it possible that she was fostered but it might not have been as a result of a child protection issue. I think you need to seek advice on this from the ACPC and closely monitor the situation. Do you have a good relationship with the Mum, are you able to offer her any support, although I expect this is probably hard if the Mum is struggling and finding it hard to deal with it all, for whatever reason which appears to be the case. You are right to be concerned, I wish you all the best with this and hope that it resolves itself for everyone concerned. Keep us posted - not very helpful I know.

Nikki

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Hi

 

Thanks for your advice, I have mentioned my concerns to our child protection/ head. Also have discussed with our learning mentor as it may be possible for her to offer 1-1 sessions to talk etc. It's difficult to talk to mum as she has been quite negative about the little girl, also the girl has said that she does' nt want to go home with mum (again reported to head). It just seems so sad to see her character changing in this way and the affect it has on her relationships with other children. Her brother has just been readmitted to hospital, so I am aware that the situation is very delicate. Just have to keep supporting her and raise postives with mum (mum called her a thief!).

 

Lisa

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