Within our time with Archway we are given training that widens our knowledge and allows us to gain new skills. These are always informative and assist within our roles as Foster Carers.”
Archway have provided us with support within both working hours and also out of hours when we needed them, we have support from our social worker who we can ask for advise and guidance if we need it.
We have been fostering for 10 years and in the beginning we worked for another Independent Fostering Agency and decided after approx 5 years to change agencies, we looked around at many different ones. We decided on Archway due to their outlooks and philosophies.
Since our approval at panel, we have had back to back referrals from Archway Care, which at the end of the day is what it is all about. We personally know all the staff, management and some of the other carers, which really works when support is needed.
Child was placed with a foster carer from birth and was moved after unsuccessful attempts to place her for adoption. Her future potential was unknown and based on her current levels of development it was generally expected that she would be severely limited compared to her peers.
Child was placed with Foster Carer in November 2012 aged 3 years.
Child has Global Developmental Delay and possible Autism (undiagnosed). She is unable to verbally communicate her needs and wants, and as result tends to scream if she does not like something. Child rarely makes eye contact or smiles. Child is unable to dress herself or attend any level of personal hygiene. She finds bathing and particularly hair washing very difficult. Child wears nappy both day and night. She does not appear to know when she has soiled or wet herself.
Child has complex health needs which impact on her development in all areas. Child now attends three sessions a week at Nursery. This should continue as it addresses many of her developmental and social needs. Child has regular sessions with an Early Years Support Team.
Child has regular medical appointments including speech therapy, physiotherapy, developmental assessments and most recently a genetic assessment.
Child has historically found it difficult to interact successfully with adults and, more prominently, her peer group. She has tended to cry and scream when placed in a new situation – especially one with bright lights and lots of noise. That said, Child’s social skills have noticeably improved since she started to attend nursery in September 2012 and she will now interact with adults to some degree and plays alongside her peers.
Child attends regular swimming sessions which she appears to enjoy. Child can crawl proficiently and is now able to stand whilst holding on to the backs of chairs. However, she is not able to walk. Her hand-eye coordination is very poor.
Child has been ‘fussy’ with regards to her diet but will benefit from being introduced to a wider range of flavours and textures. Child can eat finger food; however, she will scream and cry if presented with new foods. She currently refuses to use a cup and prefers one bottle but has been encouraged to explore a cup at nursery, and will put her fingers in to it and suck from it.
Child is now walking without support, she can go up and down the stairs but Foster Carer always supervises. Foster Carer reports Child is screaming a lot less now than when she was first placed, but still express herself by screaming when distressed or faced with new situation.
Child will sit and turn pages of her story books. Child can wave and clap her hands. Child eats her main meals on a plate and can drink from a cup now.
Foster Carer states Child has successfully improved her interactions with adults and her peer group. Child sees a lot of Carer’s twin grandchildren who are of a similar age. The children get on well and this seems to help Child who appears to look forward to their visits and going out with them. The screaming and crying has drastically reduced.
Foster Carer has noticed that Child appears to fear noises in the kitchen when kitchen appliances are in use. However, when the builders were recently at the home and using appliances in the kitchen she was not fazed by this. Interestingly, she seems only fazed when Carer uses these appliances.
Child enjoys watching programmes on the television, e.g. news and the weather forecast. Child is still not verbal, but can be vocal in attempting to communicate her needs and wants. Child goes shopping with Carer. Foster Carer takes Child out regularly to walk the dog in the park. Carer’s grand-children visit and play with Child over weekends and Foster Carer often takes them to places e.g. local parks and safaris.
Foster Carer is supporting Child to try things for herself – such as using a cutlery and standing up to reach things. Foster Carer feels Child is starting to demonstrate a potential for more independent skills than her referral may have indicated.
Child’s health has been generally fine, she has been eating and sleeping well.
Child had an appointment for physiotherapy and was signed off from further physio as it was thought Child is developing. Child also had an eye appointment and was referred to a specialist. Child required custom glasses and wears these daily. Child must wear an eye patch for 1 hour a day on the good eye to ascertain if she can see out of the bad eye.
Child now attends a different nursery, and Child also attends a toddler group once a week. Child enjoys nursery and toddler group and is very happy when she arrives there.
Foster Carer visited possible follow on schools to determine which would be the most appropriate school for Child’s needs.
Foster Carer has noticed that Child continues to fear the washing machine noise in the kitchen. Foster Carer did take Child to the launderette to ascertain if she would react in a similar way or whether it was just the machine in her home that made Child so agitated, in case they could change the appliance to solve the issue. However, Child did react in the same manner so Foster Carer quickly removed her from the launderette.
Child continues to be generally happy and tries to laugh at things, smiling at people in shops and when people visit the house. Child likes to say goodbye and stand on the grass and wave people off.
Child is trying to speak. Child can get up and down the kerb on her own and when Foster Carer asks her to put her shoes on, Child can fetch them and put them on the floor ready to go out. When Foster Carer says, “bed time”, Child opens the lounge door and walks up the stairs.
Child continues to interact well with carer’s twin grandchildren and enjoys their company. They encourage Child to try new things and encourage her. The three children have developed a very positive relationship which is reciprocal.
Child has been diagnosed with 22q11.2 Duplications. This rare disorder can cause developmental delay, mobility problems, and behaviour issues, hearing loss, identifiable facial features and a problem with the heart structure. Child continues to visit the CDC. This is a three-monthly check-up.
Child’s health has been generally good. Child has been eating and sleeping well. Child had an appointment at the hospital allergy clinic due to a rash that Child experienced recently. However, Foster Carer was informed that Child has sensitive skin due to her not being socialised when she was younger.
Child continues to be generally happy and tries to laugh at things, smiling at people in shops and when people visit the house. Positive interactions even with people she does not know – a major improvement. Child can wave to people hello and goodbye and to shake her head to indicate no. Child is making attempts at speech and indicating a real desire to communicate in this way.
Child is now able to use the potty. This is a significant breakthrough. Foster Carer needs to ask her if she needs to go to the toilet, but then Child will promptly sit on the potty. Carer, along with guidance from school, will begin to use visual aids, encouraging Child to use these when she needs to go.
Child attends new school and has settled in well. Child is very happy to go on the bus to school and waves goodbye to Foster Carer as she goes. At school Child has been painting, playing with lots of toys and playing on the slide and swings. Child enjoys swimming with the school every Tuesday.
Child is not tired when she returns home.
There have been incidents since Child returned to school following the summer holidays (after Child had remained dry through the night and during the day) where she was very wet when she returned home. Foster Carer did talk to the school and Foster Carer informed that the school recognised Child may have been given top up of her drinks by various staff members and thus she was more desperate to go the toilet than usual.
Child enjoys shopping with Foster Carer. Foster Carer takes Child out regularly to walk the dog in the park. Carers grandchildren visit and play with Child at weekends and Foster Carer often takes them to activity based places.
Foster Carer states Child has successfully improved her interaction with adults and her peer group. Her Foster Carer reported that Child had a great summer and could go to the seaside for two weeks. Foster Carer reported that Child achieved so much over that period, she loved her holiday and enjoyed going into the sea, playing on the beach, going on a donkey ride, riding the train and going to an entertainment club at night. A year ago, this would not have been possible as Child was reluctant to do any activity that was beyond her usual, so this is great progress.
Foster Carer also reported that her granddaughter had to go into hospital and Child sat on her bed, stroking her hair and saying ‘ahh’. Foster Carer states that Child was very gentle and was aware she was not well. This shows Child can display empathy and she has also showed this with Carer’s dog.
Child is now able to run back and forward and goes from room to room. She is becoming more confident and is not afraid to explore now. She will look in cupboards and investigate the washing machine. Child also understands a lot more, she understands what Foster Carer is asking of her most of the time. Child now goes out to the shed and gets herself a toy to play with. Child can use a fork as well as a spoon to eat her dinner and can drink out of an open cup on her own.
Child is dry through the day and night. This is a remarkable achievement as there were questions when she was first placed if she would be able to walk or eat properly, the idea that she could be potty trained was not even considered. School are trying to incorporate a system where Child uses visual aids to indicate when she needs to use the toilet, or she needs something drink/eat.
Child can say a few words although she tends to say some words and then will not say them anymore. Now, she can say thank you.
Foster Carer is continuing to support Child to try things for herself – such as using cutlery and standing up to reach things.
Foster Carer reported that Child had a difficult week beginning the 12th January. This coincided with changes in transportation times. The bus time to transport Child to school changed to 8.30am instead of 8.00am so that Child was not on the bus for such a long period. However, children were already on the bus before Child and she did not like this and became distressed. Child would cry every morning. There was also a new pupil who enrolled at the school and school reported that Child was very quiet. Child was unsettled at home for two weeks during this period where she cried a lot, she was quiet and did not want to do things for herself, did not want to play with Carer’s grandchildren and would not play with the dog.
This was all very unusual for Child.
The bus driver changed his pick-up times back to the previous plan and this seemed to settle her. When she got used to the new pupil she was fine and has been back to her usual self. It is apparent that Child finds it difficult to cope with change and needs time to adjust.
Child continues to be generally happy. She is becoming more confident and is not afraid to explore. Child does enjoy attention from people, she still prefers adult company rather than with other children, although she has a positive relationship with Carer’s grandchildren. Child tends to learn a lot from them, she will copy them and they encourage her to try things that she would normally be a little hesitant in doing. This is helping her development in many areas.
Child now puts her cup and plate in the sink when she has finished, and will indicate if she wants a drink by pointing to where the juice is kept, she then selects what flavour she wants and puts the bottle back after use. Child peeled a Satsuma for the first time. Child was very pleased with this achievement. Child can say several words and Foster Carer believes Child understands everything she says.
Foster Carer is continuing to support Child to try things for herself – putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket and putting her shoes on and off.
Foster Carer will take Child out to many fun places. Child has been to a farm recently, participating in a bear hunt, riding on a pony and going on to bouncy castle. Child has been attending a club for three weeks during the summer holidays and seems to have really enjoyed it. She appeared to be able to cope better with a change in her routine.
Foster Carer has also taken Child swimming, to a miniature railway, flower arranging and pottery.
Child was not happy for the first two weeks at school, as she was in a new class and was not impressed with the changes. Child was not happy with the new transport people. They don’t get off the bus or speak to Child like she’s used to. She is going a bit later in the mornings, 8.15am, but not getting home until 4.40pm. Three weeks on and they now say good morning and Child seems a bit happier, but again is not responding well to changes in her routines.
Child hates to get dirty and was upset when she fell over at school and got muddy.
Child is talking a lot and now using proper words in her sentences. Child tries to have conversations with Foster Carer and Foster Carer does know what Child is trying to say. Foster Carer believes that Child understands everything she says to her and responds to it. For example; Foster Carer will ask Child what she has done at the play scheme and Child will say “yes or no” to what activities she has been participating in.
Child recently celebrated her 5th birthday and Foster Carer reports that Child had a good birthday party and enjoyed opening all her presents and blowing out all the candles on her cake. She needs encouragement to play with new toys. Child is making steady progress in all areas.
Child is more verbal, talking all the time and has learnt new words in the summer holidays. Child is now able to make clearer choices now she has found her voice. Child can say what she likes and dislikes. Child has recently managed to get herself dressed, without putting her clothes inside out and back to front. Child will put the juice back in the cupboard after use and will wipe the table after dinner.
The progress Child has made to date has been down to the determination of Foster Carer with giving child as much control over her own life as possible. Foster Carer believes this is crucial for Child’s future as an adult and to ensure that she can have a good quality life experience.
Foster Carer has worked consistently and patiently, giving Child structure and routine so she is able to predict what is coming next in daily life.
Foster Carer has promoted choices for Child and welcomed toddler like tantrums which they believe indicates a normal part of development as she begins to learn to manage emotions.
Form F Assessors required in the Milton Keynes, Fenlands and surrounding area
Archway Care has been an independent foster care provider since 2002 with offices in Milton Keynes and the Peterborough and Fenland area.
We would welcome applications from new prospective Foster Carers, or experienced professional Foster Carer(s) already caring for children/young people who wish to transfer to Archway Care. Applicants interested in caring for teenagers are particularly welcome.
If you would like more information about becoming a foster carer please telephone our office, email us, or submit your interest by completing the initial interest form. We are waiting to hear from you now.