Azara and Nikesha collaborating
Nikesha is a social worker who recently collaborated with Family Group Conference coordinator Azara. She works for the Looked After Children team and has been working with a child who was placed in foster care after her mother removed her from school for a year due to mental health struggles. When she was allocated as the child’s social worker, she felt it was essential to keep the child within her birth family. The child’s paternal family were located, the father and older half -sister were assessed as potential carers. Unfortunately, they both received a negative assessment. However, Nikesha created a support network to develop the sister’s capacity to care for her younger sibling. This included providing accommodation and working closely with the Permanence and CAMHS teams, who worked extremely hard with the sister; their role has been integral in supporting her to develop the skills to care for her younger sister. Nikesha called on Azara to gather the paternal family around the two sisters in an FGC. The meeting focused on the transition from foster carer’s home to her sister’s care. It was challenging to arrange initially, taking multiple conversations to settle on a date. The professionals accommodated the family to ensure positive communication moving forward. Nikesha described the FGC as ‘amazing’. There were lots of open, honest conversations and even some laughs. Azara ensured that the child had an advocate, so her voice was represented in the meeting. The FGC established and coordinated the network’s support for the sister and child including advocacy support. Together, they made a clear care plan of how the siblings would be supported practically, financially and emotionally. In the review, the family assessed their progress and decided on another meeting to keep moving forward. The child’s half-sister was reassessed positively, and the local authority recommended that a Special Guardianship Order be granted to her. After the meetings, contact between the child and her maternal grandmother and aunts was established, and a maternal side FGC is potentially in the pipeline. Azara spoke about how the family and professionals did not give up in over two years collaborating to create a safe and stable home for the child. Nikesha wanted to highlight the FGC team’s role in keeping children with birth families.
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