You know you how keen you are to take on a new child?’ Christine said. ‘Well, since it’s January sales time, I have a proposition. How d’you feel about two for the price of one?’
The Watsons are no strangers to sibling placements – they’ve done several - but when Casey takes the call from her supervising social worker one frosty January morning, she can already tell from the tone of her colleague’s voice that it might be a little more complicated than that. And she’s right. It’s not so much a two-for-one, as three-for-one offer. A four day old baby called Tommy – born in prison - plus his four year old ‘handful’ of a half-brother, Noah. Then, four weeks on, the very moment she gets out of prison too, the boys’ mother – a nineteen year old called Jenna.
Christine is clear; it will be challenging, and on a number of levels. Caring for a newborn at the grand old age of fifty four, plus a toddler. And a toddler, moreover, who is likely to be more than just a handful, the majority of his young life having been spent without boundaries, bouncing back and forth between grandparents who are ill-equipped to raise him and his out-of-control drug-addicted teenage mum. Then the mum herself, who, despite giving no indication that she has a fraction of the skills needed, is determined to prove she can do whatever it’s going to take to persuade social services to let her keep her babies.
And the person tasked with the unenviable job of deciding whether she is or not? Casey herself.
Casey Watson has been a specialist foster carer for six years. During this time she has welcomed 14 difficult to place children into her home. Casey has spent the majority of her adult life working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes two years running behavioural units in schools.Casey combines fostering with writing, usually late at night when the rest of the household are sleeping. Casey’s own son has Asperger’s Syndrome but is high functioning.
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