A young persons journey through care
With multiple placement breakdowns from the age of 8, Amanda struggled to settle, displaying very difficult behaviours. Upon referral to Options in 2011 for a fostering placement it was decided by the local authority that the best approach for Amanda was for her to be placed within one of Options Residential Children’s Homes, accessing education within Options College Shifnal. This provided her with a period of stability in a specialist residential service with an exit plan of a bespoke family placement with Options Fostering.
During her time at Options College Shifnal, Amanda received therapeutic input from the Clinical Team to help her to manage her feelings of loss and rejection, and support her ability to build secure attachments with adult caregivers. Amanda presented with complex behaviours arising from the severe emotional and physical neglect she had suffered. These behaviours made matching a foster placement very specific therefore Options Fostering bespoke recruited a couple able to meet these needs. Working together, the full care, education and Clinical Team met regularly to evaluate progress and to assess matching requirements for potential families.
In 2012 Options Fostering completed a fostering feasibility assessment which recommended a practice family to be the best way forward to introducing a long term family placement to Amanda. The practice family were in fact the foster carers who had been bespoke recruited for Amanda, but introducing them as a practice family enabled her to feel she was not expected to make a commitment and equally provided the local authority with evidence based practice on how Amanda would cope in a family environment again.
A practice family provides experiences of spending time with a foster family. The initial few weeks of the plan involved activities and trips out with the foster carers, helping Amanda to develop a relationship with carers and becoming involved in family life. The foster carers worked closely with the residential team, spending time with Amanda in the familiar environment where she felt safe with staff. It was ten weeks before the plan moved to a further stage, whereby she spent increased time with the foster carers and then stayed overnight with them.
Throughout the stages of preparing Amanda for family life, the fostering, residential, education and Clinical Teams met regularly, often joined by Amanda’s social worker to review the evidence presented from the practice family. Throughout the plan Amanda struggled at various stages but the collective approaches adopted by the teams enabled issues to be resolved. Amanda struggled in education and appeared to target her behaviours toward the education environment. Options College Shifnal worked tirelessly to manage and resolve issues as they arose with improvements in academia being maintained. In May 2012 a transition plan for a move of placement was agreed and Amanda became placed with foster carers in August 2012.
The foster placement has been a positive experience for Amanda, there have been highs and lows which have been managed through consistent communication with Options College Shifnal and the Clinical Team. Amanda has made friends locally and is part of the family. She continues to attend weekly therapy sessions.
In September 2013 it was identified Amanda could move to a mainstream local school and Options College Shifnal have worked with the local authority and mainstream school to facilitate a transition plan. Amanda successfully moved to mainstream school in March 2014.