‘I know how keen you are,’ Christine said, ‘but this one’s not for you. It’s not just one child, but two - a newborn and a four year old. Not to mention their mother. I genuinely think it’ll be too much for you.’
Those words are like a proverbial red rag to a bull. The Watsons are no strangers to sibling placements – they’ve already done several – and they’ve done a mother and baby placement before too. So Casey bridles at her supervising social worker’s well-meant words; is she suggesting she and Mike might be too old?
There’s little doubt, though, that it will require a lot of energy. It’s a four day old baby called Tommy, born in prison, plus his four year old ‘handful’ of a half-brother, Seth. Then, just four weeks on, as soon as she gets out of prison, the boys’ mother – a nineteen year old called Jenna.
Christine is clear; it will be challenging, and on a number of levels. Not just caring for a newborn, but a four year old with challenging behaviours - unsurprising, 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.
There is also the question of the young 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 monitoring her? Casey herself. She’d be mad to take this one on, wouldn’t she?
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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