Post of the Month - December!
Hope you've all had a positive start to the new year. Apologies that this is coming a little later in the month than normal, but we're here now and ready to go! Many on the forum are feeling down in light of the coronavirus situation, and the lockdown restrictions are definitely really tough for everyone - thoughts and wishes going out to everyone during this difficult time. But, I like to stay optimistic - we've got over 3 million vulnerable people vaccinated already, and the new vaccines give us a way out of this. I know we've all had a tough past 12 months, and everyone has done so well to stay resilient and support one another over this time - just a little further to go before we turn the tide. Stay strong all!x
Of course, we're here for Post of the Month, so let's keep nominating all the supportive posts that fellow members post here - we'd love to recognise the great support that this community shows every day post here. With that being said, let's get into the last POTM of the year!
What is Post of the Month?
For those of you who aren't familiar with Post of the Month, each month you can nominate threads and replies you've seen on the boards. We then put up a poll and the reply with the most votes wins Post of the Month.
You can nominate a post by flagging it, selecting Report, and then choosing 'Post of the Month nomination' as the reason. It can really make someone's day to know that their comment was so appreciated that they're considered for this, so if you see a post that was particularly helpful, inspiring, moving etc., be sure to nominate it and spread that love around!
Before we share the nominations for this vote, we again want to acknowledge how brave each and every one of you is for reaching out for support. This takes so much courage and we're so proud of you all - this place wouldn't be the same with you
Congratulations to @coc0mac, @Liam, @Anch0r33, @Eleanor, @independent_, @Aidan and @Laine for being nominated for this edition! Have noticed that more posts are being co-written by several people - it's really lovely to see people working together to create supportive and informative posts, so keep it up!
1. Coc0mac - Exploring your Sexuality
It's very normal to be questioning feelings like this and to wonder what label fits you. I really understand, from experience, that sometimes neatly slotting into a label is exactly what we want to do, as a way of understanding ourselves. However, sometime it's not that easy. And that's okay. You don't have to label yourself at all, or if you would like to, there is no real rush to figure this out. Sexuality can be fluid and can take time to figure out and that's perfectly okay
If you'd like to talk about your feelings here, as a way of understanding them better, you are more than welcome to. A question that might help to explore these is - you say a label of bisexual or demisexual fits really well, but you still aren't sure. Do you know what it is that you aren't sure about?
It could be that you just lean towards certain genders in certain ways. So, you may be attracted to males and females, but when you break it down, you are more male-leaning in a romantic sense and more female-leaning in a sexual sense.
Either way, discovering your sexuality is a journey. You made a great step by sharing your feelings here, as talking about your feelings is a great way to better understand them. I would really love for you to know that this journey can take as long as you need. There is no rush - take every feeling as it comes. And remember that all of your feelings are valid, accepted and should be celebrated. Love, in any form, is so beautiful
2. Liam - Loss and Relationships
I'm so, so sorry about your loss. I think when we have complicated relationships with people it's especially hard when they pass away because (for me anyway) we don't really know how we should be feeling. You've not really said how you're feeling right now and that's okay but I just wanted to say that if you're grieving, you have every right to do that. If you're unsure about your feelings, that's okay too.
I'm really sorry about you not being able to see your niece now because she has been adopted into another family. That's tough. Adoption is a really difficult process and the wonderful thing about it is that the parents get to pick their own child so more often than not the child is already sooo loved before they even get taken to their new home
I'd say that it's pretty natural to worry about her though, you're her aunt and so you're going to feel protective. I'm really sorry that you're unable to go and check in on her to see how she's doing, it must be so difficult to not even know where she is but i'm sure that she's doing ok and is loved and probably enjoying her Christmas day!
Sending big hugs
3. Liam & Anch0r33 - Types of Care
There are many different types of Care Experience. It can be a little confusing to navigate, so @Liam and I decided we wanted to create a post which details the different types of care experience.
Kinship Care – Kinship care is when you live with someone that you know who are not your parents - this can be blood or non-blood relatives or a family friend. Kinship care can be very confusing and knowing what you fall under is determined by the criteria below.
Looked after by the local authority in kinship care – being looked after by the local authority in kinship care means that social work have placed you there. You will have one of the following –
· A compulsory supervision order (CSO)
· A permanence order or,
· Be subject to a section 25
Depending on the age you come off one of these orders, you should be entitled to care leavers rights.
Formal Kinship Care – Formal kinship care means that you have had no social work involvement however there is a formal order in place from the court. This order is usually an S11 and means the carer has parental responsibility and means this placement is secure. This type of arrangement is usually private between the parents and the carer and the parent voluntarily gives their parental responsibility to the carer.
Informal Kinship Care – Informal kinship care means you have had no social work involvement and there are no orders in place. This means you are not classed as looked after and you do not qualify as a care leaver.
Important to note – It is entirely possible to fall into multiple of these categories. If this is the case you should contact your social worker (if you have one), talk to a lawyer if you have any questions or ask your parent/carer for more information regarding your specific case. Often if you fall into multiple of these you will only be classed as one so it is important to know what you’re entitled to. This is judged on a case by case basis so make sure you find out as soon as you can.
Foster Care – Foster care is when a child or young person goes to live in a carer’s home because they can no longer live with their own family. Moving into foster care is basically like going to live with another family, they will have their own set rules which you will have to follow. Foster care can be temporary where the young person will move back home when their family are ready to take care of them again or it can be long term where the young person will stay with their foster carers until they reach care leavers age. There are different types of foster care
Emergency foster care : Is when a younger person needs safe housing at short notice. The young person will be moved to emergency foster care whilst a social worker assesses their situation at home and decides the which steps are best to take next. Emergency foster care is the same as other foster care placements however the young person will only stay for a few days or even only a few hours.
Short term foster care: Is when a young person moves to foster care on a temporary basis. For example, if the young person's parent has fallen poorly, the young person will be given a short-term foster placement where they can be looked after whilst their parent gets better. Short term foster placements can turn into long term placements or even adoption however the young person is eventually able to go back to their birth family.
Long term foster care: Is when a young person is unable to return to their birth family for whatever reason. They will live in their foster placement until they age out of the care system.
Respite Foster Care – Respite care is short term care for children and young people when their regular carer may need a break. People who go into respite care are often already in another form of care, for example being looked after at home or in kinship care with an elderly relative, or where the child or young person is disabled and the parent/carer needs some time off. A respite placement is a short term foster placement that is often the same family throughout the time that a child or young person needs respite care (although this is not always the case).
Private Fostering – Private Fostering is when someone who is not an immediate relative or a friend of the child/child’s family is looking after a child for more than 28 days. This is done without social work involvement. It can be extended family for example a great aunt or a cousin (but not an aunt). The local authority must be informed if a child is staying with someone for over 28 days as they need to ensure the placement is safe and suitable for the child. A social worker will be sent within a week to ensure the home is safe for the child and will ensure the plans for the child staying there are fully agreed and understood by both the parents and the carer. This is to avoid a situation where a carer is looking after a child longer than expected or a carer believing they were caring for the child longer term than the parents thought.
Residential Care – Residential care is basically a big house where a set amount of young people live. Young people who live in residential care are usually, for whatever reason, uncomfortable with foster care. Residential care is good for young people who prefer not to have a ‘family environment’ and would instead like to live around other young folk. Residential care homes are always monitored by staff members who do not live in the home but work set shifts. A young person who lives in resi will also have a key worker who they can talk to about their issues. The key worker will go to the young persons parents evenings and doctors appointments etc, etc. The YP will often have meetings with their key worker just to check in to see how they’re getting on. In residential care you will have your own bed room, a shared kitchen and lounge and a laundry room. There is usually an office too, where the staff can be found. Every residential care home has their own set rules, these are usually written and put somewhere for you to be able to see and young people will often have meetings to discuss the rules and anything they’d like to change.
Adoption – Adoption is when a young person is unable to go and live back home with their birth parents. Adoption is where a new permanent family is found for the young person. When a person is adopted the adopters become the child or young person's legal parents and have the same rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to them.
Secure Care Homes – Secure care homes are for children who are a risk to themselves or to others and no other placement is suitable to keep them safe. This can be due to self-harming or running away potentially. It can also be for children and young people who are remanded to custody or serving a custodial sentence. This type of placement provides the care, education and support needs for every person. Mostly people in this placement are very vulnerable and have complex needs.
Looked After At Home – Children and young people become looked after at home when the children’s hearing determines that a supervision order is necessary however the conditions of where the child should live are not specified. This means the child or young person may live at home with their parents however social services will continue to monitor the situation closely. This situation could occur before intervention is needed to prevent the child going into another form of care or it could occur when a child is returning home from another form of care and it ensures the child remains safe.
Semi-independent Care – Semi-independent care (sometimes known as independent living) is for young people aged 16-18 years old. This is where young people in care can prepare for life after care. They will still be supported by care workers however will learn the vital skills, like cooking, cleaning and bills before they transition into adulthood. Semi-independent care will bridge the gaps that care leavers may be left with after leaving care.
Care Leavers – Care leavers are adults who have left care. They have to have spent time in care since they were 14 years old and must have been in care on or after their 16th birthday. There is a wide range of support for care leavers including financial support and living support (plus more). Usually young people leave care at the age of 18, however some young people are now able to stay in their placements until they turn 21.
4. Eleanor, Independent, Aidan, Liam, Laine & Anch0r33 - Dealing with Trolls
A few of us have come together to create this message for the whole community, we want everyone to know that we are all together as one in this community and no one can ruin that.
Haters have no place on The Mix, it should be a safe space for everyone to get and give support, however if we all come together, we can beat these trolls.
The Mix community might be a place - but it is the people who make it. We all have someone’s back, knowing somebody else has ours. When we’re at our lowest, we know we have a group of fans rooting for us on the climb back up.
The words we send one another have an impact. Beyond doubt, some of those words have saved a life. Some people might use words in a different way though; haters who know next to nothing about you, deciding they have the right to make a mockery of your struggles.
Know that through thick and thin, we’re all here for each other, and we band together against the trolls. They will never know such a warm and supportive place as the one we’ve made here.
If a troll has made you doubt whether you should seek support, know that we outnumber these people my far, the community will provide all the love and support in the world and we refuse to let trolls ruin this. By all coming together as one and protecting one another we can ensure everyone gets the support they need whilst @The Mix do the rest!
We're stronger together!
What can I do if a troll affects me?
If a troll has something that has caused upset or has been triggering, there are plenty of steps you can do to. Firstly, you can report the user to The Mix by either flagging a post or by sending The Mix a PM. You can also add The Mix into any PM that you would like them to see.
But what can I do once I've done that?
- Reach out for support! Create a post on the boards about how you are feeling and we will all be here to support you, remember to focus on feelings rather than actions and know that how you're feeling is valid. If you prefer more 1-2-1 support, you can contact The Mix's 1-2-1 services or even have a vent to The Mix through PM!
- Write a letter to the troll! Writing a letter to the troll explaining how their words have affected you if an excellent way to get all your feelings out. Once you have written this letter you can destroy it, get all your frustrations out! Or you can keep it as a reminder that you are stronger than they are!
- Talk to other people who have been affected! It is likely that this troll would have affected other people as well and you may be feeling a similar way to them. Connecting over this can help valid your feelings as well as unite the community.
- Distract yourself! It can be easy to become caught up in the words the troll has said so sometimes we just need a distraction. Stick on your favourite Netflix show, or message a friend or check out the anything goes section of the boards for some fun threads!
Thank you @independent_, @Aidan, @liam, @laine, @anch0r33, for writing this with me, we are all coming together to be there for one another! Feel free to comment below as well if you would like, we are showing people that we out number the trolls and will continue to keep this space safe for each other