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Mina
Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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I am a Carer currently caring for a 2 year old child who has

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I am a Foster Carer currently caring for a 2 year old child who has been placed with us since he was two days old.
He has been attending contact with his parents (separately) since he arrived with us. Recent changes in his contact schedule and with another family member (an Aunt) have seen a change in his behaviour which concerns us.
He has started hitting himself when he returns from contact and also banging his head against the wall, or fridge or furniture. Just recently this has escalated to him lying on the floor and banging his head on the floor.
We have seen him change from a happy little chap to one that at times can be quite withdrawn and sullen.
Approx 2 months ago we requested a CAMHS assessment for him via his Social Worker but to date we have not had a reply.
His current Social Worker seems to be dismissive of his behaviour and has recently (against our wishes on his behalf) increased the contact sessions with the Aunt and this includes many unsupervised sessions.
We believe that his behaviour may be attachment/separation anxiety as he is not happy going to contact. At times he hits us when we collect him from contact or when he is returned home.
During the contact sessions at times of stress it has been reported that he calls for us (calling for me in particular) and isn't easily consoled by the Aunt.
What can we do to ease this for him as the change in his temperament is a great concern for us.
Thanks.
Andy

Hi and thank you for contacting us.

From your description I understand that the little boy is in distress possibly due to a lack of a containing environment when it comes to his birth family. Children sometimes cannot cope with changes and looked after children especially sometimes become the victims of manipulation between birth parents. It would be impossible to know exactly what has changed and what has contributed to this behaviour. A professional, such as a Psychologist or mental health worker would need to assess all members that are in contact with him and be able to observe the interaction between them before making any assumptions.

Therefore, I would definitely recommend that you by passed the social worker and push CAMHS to perform and assessment. As I have worked in CAMHS I am aware that they can have long waiting lists. However, you can yourself contact the service manager of CAMHS by phone or letter. You should have received by now a letter from them with an appointment. If you haven't, then you definitely need to contact the service manager and complain. This will speed up things for you.

The social worker should really act as an intermediator. However, social workers sometimes fail in the roles and disregard risk signs as they can slowly become desensitised when it comes to risky behaviours. The behaviour you are describing sounds as a self inflicting behaviour and this needs to be addressed with immediate attention. Surely if this behaviour has started after certain changes, such as increase in contact, then this needs to put on hold until further assessment is done.

So feel free to contact the Service manager of your local CAMHS and discuss the necessity of giving priority to your case. You would also need to meet with a Psychologist in CAMHS to support you through your difficult role and to provide you with some more coping skills. You need all the support you can get so you do not feel drained. If you are dissatisfied with the social worker's decisions and general management of the case you can also complain to her service manager of the social services and request another social worker. If you put this on writing there are protocols and procedures to be followed so your request would be at least investigated.

Hope that helps

All the best

Mina

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