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KEEP Standard - Dante
Dante has been living with his Aunt Leah for six months. He was moved from his mum’s care because of neglect. Dante had missed a lot of school and had looked after his baby sister often. Leah has no other children and had asked for some help parenting Dante. She was worried that he had lots of problems settling into his new school and that he broke things around the home. Her family had advised her to ‘take a firm line’ with Dante but she thought that this made the situation worse.
The KEEP group helped Leah to use pre-teaching with Dante to prepare him for his day in school. KEEP gave Leah the confidence to ask his class teacher for guidance on how to break the school day into chunks so that she could help Dante understand what he would be doing and what his class teacher expected of him.
Leah also used a visual routine chart for him at home. She used ‘when…then…’ to help reinforce his routine and help him to begin to tidy his things away after playing. The KEEP facilitators helped Leah to use distraction when Dante began to pick at the furniture or bang the doors. Leah would distract him with a song or a dance. Dante and Leah began to enjoy ‘music time’ together.
Leah enjoyed meeting other friends and family carers in the group. They talked together about parenting children of their own children or their siblings. Leah said that she might not have felt able to care for Dante without the support of the group and the KEEP facilitators. She fed back that she did not know learning about parenting could be so much fun.
KEEP Safe - Katrina
Janice is the foster carer for 12 year old Katrina. Karina had lived with her for over a year when Janice started the Keep group. Janice wanted to have Katrina’s placement made permanent but was worried that she might not have the skills needed to care for Katrina long term. She was worried that Katrina argues about doing tasks around the house, comes home late from school and refuses to hand her phone in at bedtime. Janice has lots of experience fostering younger children and her friends foster primary school age children. She said she feels out of her depth when she thinks about Katrina’s emerging adolescence.
Janice found the weekly PDR telephone calls from the KEEP facilitator really helpful. They helped her to focus on the behaviours that she was finding stressful. These were arguing and irresponsibility (always around her coming home late from school). Janice learned to wait for 10 seconds when she asked Katrina to do something. She found that this increased Katrina’s compliance. She also practised walking away from arguments which led to fewer arguments with Katrina. As the arguments reduced, Katrina became more open with Janice. She told her that she was late home from school because she was being bullied by a group of girls and had started to take a long way home to avoid them. She was also able to tell Janice that she felt ashamed of handing in her phone because she didn’t want Janice to read the bullying texts that she had received.
Janice was surprised that other foster carers in the KEEP group had similar worries about looking after teenagers. She found it helpful to hear how they had coached their teenagers to manage peer relationships. She loved the fun that was had in the group and fed back that the KEEP facilitators had done a great job with the group atmosphere. Janice has made new friends from attending the group; and they continue to meet up at KEEP support groups. She feels confident to care for teenagers and Katrina’s placement with her has been made permanent.