After Naomi's* placement had unfortunately broken down there was uncertainty about where Naomi would next call home, so until that was settled she spent some time at Nelson Lodge, a service she was familiar with having regularly spent time there in the past. Hannah had this to say about Naomi’s time with the service.
“We knew Naomi from her previous visits and we were really pleased to work with her to provide her with a little bit of stability and familiarity until her next step had been made sure of.
“Naomi has complex needs, including post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a troubled start to her life as well as significant allergies including a chemical used in most cleaning products. Her allergies meant we needed to change our practices while she stayed with us with only a few hours’ notice before she arrived, and we had to take extra precautions to make sure that nothing we were using to keep the home COVIDsecure could cause her harm.
“Her foster placement breaking down was obviously very distressing for her and we tried our utmost to make her feel safe while she was with us. She would ask us questions like, “Where is my home?” and, “When am I going back?” We worked with her social worker to make sure our answers were consistent with theirs and also gave Naomi the opportunity to speak over video call if in person visits were useful. Our work at Nelson Lodge means Naomi is now going to school, after not being able to do that for most of 2020, and we played a big part in finding Naomi’s next home, talking in advance to the professionals working with Naomi now, so they were aware of her needs and how we have worked with her here.
“It was really hard for her seeing other children return to their homes, and we worked as a whole team to make her feel as settled as possible. We looked back at records and made a little memory book for her from her previous visits – she couldn’t believe how much she had grown. She loves having her hair done, so my colleague who used to be a hairdresser styled her hair, painted her nails, and Naomi enjoyed painting our nails too.
"We involved her in as many of the decisions as we could around her routine and she helped me with choosing what was going on the meal plan and helping the younger children with baking activities.
"She is very inquisitive and loves talking to people so we would often give other members of the Break team a ring so she could talk to them about what they were doing. When she found out my mum is a foster carer and wanted to ask lots of questions we wrote them all down and I did a vlog with my mum at home so I could show her on my next shift, and other staff members did similar things too. While Naomi was at Nelson Lodge we cared for her as if she was our own. All of these little things made a huge difference to her.”