Malik is a 9-year-old boy from Staffordshire and whilst residing in the care of his birth parents he suffered neglectful parenting, which was contributed to by their substance misuse. Unfortunately, this led to Malik being accommodated by the Local Authority and he was placed in a residential setting and subsequently placed with a foster family, sadly they were unable to meet his needs, and this led to Malik being placed back in a residential setting for a period of time. Malik has complex additional needs and is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Ventricularmegaly, Hydrocephalous with VP shunt and Epilepsy. Malik is also diagnosed with a visual impairment (Bilateral Optic nerve hypoplasia) and a mild to moderate hearing loss in his left ear. He is wheelchair dependent when out in the community but when at home he likes to be down on the floor where he can crawl around independently.
The Big Fostering Partnership, through its delivery partner National Fostering Group searched for a family who would be able to not only give Malik a nurturing family but also provide the home environment and skills needed to care for his physical and medical needs.
Malik was matched to a National Fostering Agency fostering household in May 2020; an in-depth introduction period was arranged, which included the foster family, Malik, and professionals. However, as the process started in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic the introduction visits had to start virtually and increase to visits to the residential home and in the community. The introduction period was well planned and highly successful, and M appeared to enjoy the time he spent with the foster family. Malik eventually moved in with his new foster family at the end of July 2020. There was an intensive level of support provided; including an NFA support worker, tailored short breaks service, additional training, therapeutic intervention via a psychologist and increased visiting frequency from the Supervising Social Worker to promote stability and support for the whole family.
Initially Malik did not understand the concept of a foster family and was institutionalised to some degree by wanting to know who was going to be on shift when he arrived. Malik settled quickly with his foster family and now views himself as part of a family. When Malik first arrived, he struggled to manage a full conversation but his communication skills have developed significantly in this area and Malik has been able to build positive relationships with the other members of the household, identifying them as brother and sister. Malik loves spending time singing karaoke and as the foster family enjoy singing as well this is a perfect match for Malik.
Malik continues to be a sociable character who enjoys adult interaction but requires detailed routines to ensure he feels safe and secure. Malik’s appointments with specialist services have successfully moved to the local area to avoid the need for him to travel significant distances and services are working in partnership with the foster family to meet Malik’s emotional and physical needs.
The foster family are so dedicated to Malik and caring for him in the future, they are wanting to be permanently matched long term with Malik and this is currently in process. The foster family are very attuned to Malik’s complex needs and advocate for him daily to ensure Malik continues to thrive and succeed within their care.
Malik’s favourite saying currently is ‘I know you’re not staff, it’s family’.
You can find out more on the Big Fostering Partnership here.