I can’t stay here

It was late on a Thursday night, I was just finishing work, and the phone rang.
Our agency.
It was odd to have a call from them after 7.30 pm because at this time we weren’t yet registered for emergency care.
There was a 13 year old girl needing a place for the night, could we help.
Of course we can, it’s only a night. We can do anything for a night.

It was almost 10 pm when “Diana” arrived on our doorstep. What happened next surprised me, she announced she couldn’t stay here. When asked why, she said because I had taught her when she was in primary school. And she’s right, she was a past student. I’d never had any problems with her, but you could see she was uncomfortable. It was late at night and the social workers didn’t have a lot of options, so they talked her into staying just for the night.

The next day we went to see her social worker at the department and she had a bit of a chat about where she wanted to live. She had been living with her grandmother and because of her running away and other family circumstances Grandma was unwilling to take her home. They explained how difficult it was to find foster families for teenagers and they talked to her about what options there were. Who did she want to live with, did she know what residential care was, did she want to stay with me.

The “I can’t stay with her” came back into play and it was nice to hear that it wasn’t because she didn’t like me when I taught her, but that it was just weird staying with me. Nice to know it wasn’t personal.

Little did we know this was to be the start of a massive learning curve for us and we see us embark on a new path with our foster care

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