Compassionate, Honest and Unconditional Care

Last night, we had an emergency placement, of a ten year old lad called Max. I cannot go into the reason Max has been taken into care, but he has been placed with us for the time being. Sam and I are specialist Foster Carers and are the only Fostering Placement in the area, which deals with Trauma. Trauma can include, but is not limited to:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing a traumatic event, such as a car accident or the sudden death of a loved one
  • Exposure to violence, alcohol misuse and drugs
  • Being made to do things that the child does not want to do

There are not enough Foster Families who can support kids with these issues and placements are very far and few between. As I say, I cannot go into the reasons why Max is in care, but I will say that he was put in a Children’s Home, which was inappropriate for his needs. This placement broke down and we had a call at Teatime, as he needed to be placed with us.

Everything was fine until 1am , when Sam and I heard a scream. Normally we can tell who is screaming, by the sound. However, this time, we couldn’t tell. So it meant going in and checking on each of the boys. We finally found out it was Max and I took him downstairs, made him a hot chocolate and reassured and calmed him down and talked to him about his nightmare.

With the types of placements we have, you have to have a lot of patience and understanding. You also need to be a good listener and be non judgemental. Sometimes, kids find trusting adults difficult, especially if they have been mistreated. I can speak from experience, as we have had many kids come through our door, with trust issues. We have also had kids who are afraid of the bath, due to fear of drowning and also several kids who cannot sleep without the light on.

We have to make special adjustments for kids like this, so that we can make sure they safe and that their wellbeing is always at the heart of what we do. Their safety is always top priority and that is why we have CCTV, Security Doors, monitored alarms etc. I think that the kids do not see the house as a “prison”, more like somewhere extremely safe, where they can get back to what is important – being a child and enjoying childhood.

On top of this, we strive to support kids placed with us as best we can and we will never turn away a child in need. (nor will we ever give up on a child in our care) These kids often are broken, have been failed and need lots of love, support, a listening ear and not fear judgement. That is what the kids we look after get, 24 hours a day. Sam, Jenny and I do not mind being woken up in the middle of the night, by one of the boys and they are encouraged to come and knock on the door, if they can’t sleep, are not well or need to talk. We’re always happy to have a chat about what ever is bothering them. Sadly, (in the middle of the night) a lot of Foster Carers will talk to the child in question and then send them back to bed 10 mins later, with the problem half fixed. This is where we make a “positive difference,” because no matter what time it is, we will make the time to listen and support our kids, with open, honest and unconditional love.

Max was OK after he sat with me for 2 hours last night. It took some time to calm him down and to talk about how he was feeling. Thankfully, by 5am, we had managed to get him settled and back to bed. He is looking forward to going on holiday next week to Skegness with Sam, myself, Jenny, Sam’s mum Linda and the other boys. Max has never been on holiday before, so it is a bit daunting for him. However, he can’t wait, after finding out what’s on offer!

Max will be Ok, he just needs stability and the correct level of support and that is what he will get, while he is with us.

It’s one of those nights!

Tonight’s shift isn’t going well. We have Boarders keep getting out of bed and saying it is too hot. We have windows open and fans are in limited supply. For our unit, we only have 3 fans for 15 boarders! There are other fans, but they have been assigned to other units, who are probably having the same problem as we are; here on Jets.

All I can really advise the kids to do, is to fold back the duvet and sleep without it over them. Also I am advising that they do not wear a PJ Top in bed, to help keep them cool and if they need a cold drink, to grab a glass of squash, which is on a trolley, near to the Staff Base. (Jugs of Orange and also Blackcurrant Squash is on offer, plus a jug of plain water.)

I have also advised boarders to take showers instead of baths. (Off the washroom, there are 2 bathrooms, with shower and bath facilities.) I have been onto Amazon and bought a few more fans, which run on USB. The cost of these will come out of our Unit’s budget, but it’s worth it, as they run on USB and it means each boarder can have a fan in their rooms. Also, the sockets in the bedrooms, have USB ports. So we can just plug them in; just like that.

Hopefully soon, this lot will quieten down and hopefully we won’t have boarders, getting out of bed and complaining about the heat, or pressing the call buzzer, in their rooms. Apart from the heat, my shift is going quite well. I have done log books, sorted pocket money for tomorrow, (Pocket Money is always handed our on a Saturday) and I have cleaned the unit fish tank.

I’m on Waking Night again tomorrow, covering for a colleague who is ill. I enjoy my job and spending time with the boarders. Night Shift is long and it it can be busy at times. Whether I am dealing with a pupil whose been sick, to boarders who have had a nightmare or are homesick, to those boarders who generally disrupt things, I take it all in my stride and be like Mary Poppins! (Firm but fair) The boarders affectionately know me as their “Care Bear) because I’m a larger kinda guy, who quite hairy, plus I genuinely, do care about each and every boarder. I make time for each and everyone of them and I think that is why the boarders love me so much. Plus, I am not like some Heads of Care, who only work Monday to Friday. I am at school on the units or in my office, 7 days a week. Plus I am always at the other end of the phone.

Anyway, enough of my waffling, I got laundry to do. On weekends, our Laundry Staff do not work, so the Unit staff have to do it, but I don’t mind!

Goodnight folks, sleep well x

PS: We do have Air Conditioning, the Office, Lounge and by Staff Base, all have Air Conditioners. If I could, I’d have every bedroom air conditioned, but it costs too much, so I doubt that will happen.

Vindaloo anyone?

So after the epic England Match yesterday, some of the boys on the Oaks and Acorns Unit have decided to make their own version of Vindaloo, to support England in Euro 2021. That meant that this afternoon, I had to go back into work to get the camcorders from the AV Cupboard in the Main School. (They have since been locked in the filing cabinet in the Unit Office and our Young People were fully supervised while using the cameras.

So far, the kids have recorded parts of the music video in the corridors on J Block and D Block and dragged staff into the video, including myself and Sam. The kids managed to catch me walking down the stairs singing along and Sam singing and dancing with a mop. I am going to try and drag other staff into the video, including a few teachers and our Head Karen!

I know Karen is very into encouraging the Performing Arts side of things and she will definitely get involved with the video., I might also suggest that we do a video for 3 Lions, which is something we can get the whole school involved with. (Staff and Pupils)

I have posted the link to the music video below. (The song was originally released in 1998. This UK No. 2 hit single is probably the most popular England Football Anthem ever and was by the band “Fat Les”. The music video for the song is a parody of the video for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve, which was itself inspired by the music video for “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack. The video features a drummer, Sumo Wrestlers, Hockey Players, loads of kids, a bloke with a piece of paper with the photo of David Walliams on it, a Vicar and a drunk woman, among many others.

Meanwhile, I am currently sat on the Children’s Assessment Unit at the Hospital with Josh. He may require an appendectomy and is currently on a drip of Paracetamol and fluids, while they decide if they need to operate or not. If he does, it will be likely that they will operate in the morning and of course, I will update the blog as soon as I can, regarding this. For now tho, I got some work I can do on my laptop, 🙂

Football Fever Grips School!

Yesterday. football fever sweeped school yesterday, as the kids watched the England vs Scotland Match in the Sports Hall. Last night. Sam had setup the projector in the Sports hall, so everyone could watch the England – Scotland match. (Socially distantly of course) As the Boarders were walking from their units to D Block, (which is where the Sports Hall is) they were singing the Lightning Seeds – 3 Lions really loudly. At the time, I was on the phone to a parent and had to ask them to hold the line for a moment. I then opened the office window and stuck my head out the window to see what was going on. It was such an atmosphere as staff and boarders walked across the car park, to the Sports Block, singing 3 Lions. (The Sports Block is D Block) The Sports Block has the Sports Hall on the ground floor, an observation balcony and the Fitness Room on the 1st floor, and the basement; houses the 25 metre Indoor Swimming Pool.

Even our kids got in on the action, singing along to 3 Lions (Especially Josh!)

Most of the windows in J Block have England Flags flying , as the kids show their support for our home nation. Many of the boarders were also wearing their England Shirts last night too. The kids have also been playing 3 Lions \ Vindaloo from their phones, on their CD Players in their rooms and on their tablets. It just proves how proud our kids are of their home nation, I know we have boarders from all faiths and backgrounds, but last night that didn’t matter… The boarders and staff united last night, to cheer on England, and I was proud to be a part of it!

In the Sport Hall, the atmosphere was electric, as staff and kids watched the match, with loud cheers throughout the match, Shame the match was a draw! After the match, the kids were certainly excited after the tense and match. Some ver very tired, but the others were still very hyper. On the way back to J Block, some of the kids were singing Fat Les – Vindaloo as they walked across the carpark. Tryin to get the kids to settle down for bed, was quite a tricky task; but we got there eventually! Yesterday had to be the most exciting late \ Sleep In Shift I have had for a while!

Microwave Fires Are No Joke

Microwaves can be brilliant for reheating food, but they can have a very affect, if a fire takes hold. This evening, Kyle had put a steamed pudding in the microwave and was mithered by Josh, as he was going on about going to a sleep over, we had already said he can’t attend. (Due to various reasons I can’t go into) So, Kyle put 30 mins, instead of 30 seconds on the microwave. Then he got distracted again, as he was paged for work. So, he didn’t know the food was burning.

It wasn’t until I took plates out to the kitchen, that I spotted smoke billowing from the microwave. So I went into emergency mode straight away, set off the fire alarm and then operated the kitchen emergency stop. I switched on the cooker hood and then opened the door and attacked the flames with a C02 Fire Extinguisher, while Jenny called the Fire Brigade. Thankfully, by the time they got to us, I had put the fire out.

So here is what you should do if your microwave catches fire:

  • First alert everyone else in the house, shout FIRE!
  • Make sure your kitchen door is shut, (if practical)
  • Cut the power, by switching off the microwave at the mains socket. If you cannot reach the mains socket, turn the power off at the fuse box. This will suffocate the fire.
  • If the fire is small and you can contain it, follow the below instructions. If not, get out the house and call 999.
  • If you have a cooker hood, switch it on full or open the window, to let the smoke out.
  • Carefully open the door, but do so standing at the side of microwave, so you do not get hit by the smoke.
  • Use a Fire Blanket or a C02 Fire Extinguisher to smother the fire.
  • Do not touch the microwave until it has fully cooled down.