in thinking this referral has been done out of spite?

(53 Posts)
WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 15:05:41

I have AS and need a bit of support around planning and organisation. I was referred to social services (not UK) for that support by my consultant. Social services refused to provide it on the basis that they couldn't see that I had any problems and that I managed just fine. We had to fight them all the way to get the support put in place as they kept appealing the Courts' decisions. Eventually they had nowhere left to go and finally this week they have started providing the support that should have started 3 years ago. Hurray!

The social worker spoke to me this afternoon to find out how it had gone and book times for next week, and then casually informed me that she has now referred me to child services for investigation into my ability to care for my DS (7 months). This is despite denying the existence of my disability for 3 years. Despite having the same information 7 months ago as they do now. Despite my hospital team and health visitor fully supporting me and having no concerns whatsoever about my parenting ability. Despite my solicitor asking them directly if they had any concerns and them saying 'no' at every meeting we've had with them because he knew it worried me. No they have had no concerns whatsoever while they were getting away with doing nothing and while I had someone with me to support me. First time I'm alone and vulnerable and they go in for the kill.

Seems my instincts were right about them all along sad

CoffeeTea103 Fri 22-Nov-13 15:12:13

Don't let this get you down, you have a lot of support behind you. You have a strong case here, question them why now they are so concerned when they were aware all along. I'm sure you will come through this fine. Just look at all the positives so far. Best of luck!

Oh that's awful. Thank goodness you have evidence. Best wishes to you. Sorry you've had to fight for this it's so unfair x

bochead Fri 22-Nov-13 15:56:05

It'll be obvious to anyone it's spite.

Either that or total incompetence to know about a family for THREE years and yet not make the appropriate referral if you think there's an issue. Even then as you were asking for help that wasn't forthcoming (court proves that ffS) it still comes under the category of "not your problem".

Honestly - I'd tell you to fret if it were 3 days, but three years just looks spiteful & sour grapey. Their irritation at the manner of the referral they've received puts in you in a good place for your initial meeting with them iyswim. Child services may even have some good ideas for helping you , and in fact are more likely to wind up being real allies in your struggles with the adult team than anything else.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 16:13:43

Not just the 3 years since my application either. I also have an older daughter who has autism. I've been seeking help with her since she started exhibiting problems when she was 2 ish. She's 20 now and I've done it all on my own.

I met someone from child services about 4 months ago. My health visitor asked her to pop in to the clinic when he had his vaccinations so she could reassure me that I was doing a good job and they had no concerns (that's how worried about adult social services doing something untoward I was).

I'm probably sounding completely paranoid but I can honestly say I've never felt such overwealming distrust as I do in this particular team. Even one of the judges said that he thought they were disingenuous and seemed to be taking 'being right' personally.

Did you post previously about this? If it is you that I remember, well done on fighting them. I'm really pleased you have finally got help. Sorry to hear about this new issue, they won't get anywhere with it, it sounds like a power trip.

It absolutely stinks. I think I'd be making big waves about it if it were me?

I agree with CP they won't get anywhere.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 22-Nov-13 16:37:32

YANBU as far as I can see.
I hope you have good support from your HV and legal team.
Good on you for challenging this.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 17:00:07

Yes I have posted about it before under a different name which I got bored of.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 22-Nov-13 17:10:14

Hello Westie I remember your struggles from before. Yes i do think spite has prompted this, how nasty and unfeeling. What an abuse of power. Disgusting.

Now, thinking of how you deal with this... Even though they are obviously being unprofessional, these things are hard to fight the more into the system you get. So the best thing to do is to get the case closed ASAP.

That means:

1. being super cooperative, polite and open with them (no matter how you feel on the inside).

2. You also need to get someone to attend meetings/ assessments with you and make notes. This is important as they've shown they are not to be trusted, and accuracy of facts will be better if there is a witness.

3. Get legal advice/ brush up on what you already know when it comes to disabled parents and the law

I once had adult ss try and push me into agreeing ds was at risk of neglect because 'well he's fine now but what I'd you had a fall and there was no one to help you and then he'd be being neglected'. Stupidly I cam close to agreeing as they said it was the only way I could get funding, however asked advice and got told absolutely not! No way is ds being neglected if that's the scenario, and no way is it true that children are automatically in need or at risk if their parents are disabled... As that would be discrimination against disabled people and illegal under the equality act.

I seem to remember you're an expert at disability and the law, parenting rights etc.

I'm sorry you have to go through this as well flowers

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 17:27:44

In my case they are saying that the Assessment of Daily Living which my occupational therapist did says that I have to follow a routine and cannot deviate from it which is cause for concern now that I have a baby as it may result in him being neglected, so that is why they are making the referral. Them being disingenuous again. What the ADL actually says is that I have to follow a certain order of doing things from which I struggle to deviate, taking care of my baby is my main priority and anything the baby needs comes first. This worries the occupational therapist as it means I need the support more than ever to ensure prioritising my baby doesn't mean I end up neglecting myself.

Chiggers Fri 22-Nov-13 17:42:44

If you have a solicitor, can you arrange with them to be with you and your HV/OT at every/most meetings with SS? That way they can file a report as to what has been said and can be co-signed by your HV/OT. You can then show it to the judge as evidence that you're not at risk of neglecting your DC and SS 'worries' are unfounded.

You've come so far with this battle, so be absolutely determined to refute and prove that SS concerns are rubbish.

Good luck and take care

bochead Fri 22-Nov-13 17:43:21

Your OT will point out it's you at risk of neglect not the baby. The Child SW is a different person/team to the adult one. Your 20 year old is fine, eg you are not even a first time Mum. The court has logged this adult team as nasty.

Seriously do not worry about it. I'm sure the kids team will be helpful rather than spiteful. They won't want to put themselves on the losing end of a court case like the adult team did if nothing else! Your HV will be listened to over the adult team as she is the professional with the actual training in baby care iyswim and she's on your side as are your medics. Worst case scenario is that you'll be offered a bit of respite if funding allows, and perhaps help with sourcing a nice nursery/school close to home when the time comes.

ElenorRigby Fri 22-Nov-13 17:46:25

Social workers have considerable power which leaves some of them with a huge God complex.

This type of SW will be spiteful given the opportunity.

So sorry your going through this. sad

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 17:53:37

I have a solicitor who normally comes to meetings but we didn't think it was necessary anymore, guess we were wrong. He's been brilliant. He explained how much he charged, we took him on and gave him the file, he read it and was so thoroughly disgusted at how I've been treated that he waived all his fees. He told me that his son has autism which is why this type of treatment gives him rage.

BalloonSlayer Fri 22-Nov-13 17:55:09

Could the social services perhaps have been so unwilling to provide the support for you in the first instance, simply because they knew that this would mean they would be obliged to do a referral to child services?

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 17:59:48

They've been unwilling to provide support for 3 years. They've only known about DS for 5 months.

CailinDana Fri 22-Nov-13 18:45:33

Unfortunately having worked with children with autism a lot your story doesn't surprise me. Some "professionals" working with vulnerable people seem to enjoy the power they have and prefer to think their clients are helpless idiots who are subject to their whim. So when someone strong and determined like you comes along the power balance is upset and theh get a vindictive "how dare you" attitude partly I think because you remind them that their clients are actual people with feelings and opinions. There's also the attitude that if you know what your difficulties are (such as your need for routine) you should be able to just change your behaviour - problem solved. By asking for help you're just playing the system. It's only people who are "really" disabled (ie those with little/no awareness and therefore are easy to pity and push around) that deserve to be patronised "help".

BalloonSlayer Fri 22-Nov-13 18:48:44

Ah. It was just a thought. flowers

eurochick Fri 22-Nov-13 18:49:10

What a wonderful solicitor.

I also feel like this referral has been made out of spite. How awful.

Darnley Fri 22-Nov-13 19:52:37

Prepared to be slated for this, but it seems to me that you have insisted that social services get involved, they are court ordered to do so and are now doing what they do.
I only know what you have posted here, but I can see why it has been flagged up with childrens services. If the baby is in need and you are not able to deviate from the routine, that is a concern. It in no way means they will be steaming in and removing your children...
Apologies if I have read this wrong, but that s my reading of things.
Will don hard hat and await the fury at disagreeing with the majority...

tiredlady Fri 22-Nov-13 20:00:26

What kind of support were SS giving you OP? If you are capable of looking after a baby - difficult and demanding job that is, I am just wondering what help you actually needed from them. If people can cope with the unpredictability of babies then they can generally cope with a lot of other stuff

DeWe Fri 22-Nov-13 20:10:25

It certainly sounds like spite to me.

But can you just explain why they think not deviating from routine is an issue. I mean lots of parents have routines they won't deviate from, loads of tales here about people who insist their group meets at 1:30 because their baby must sleep 12:30-1:15 despite that meaning half the group can't attend because they work afternoons...

Do they mean that eg, if the baby is ill then you would find it difficult to go to the doctor because that's not the usual routine?
I'm guessing that you don't really struggle with that sort of thing or you wouldn't have managed with your older, but that's the only way I can think they'd have grounds for this.

Darnley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:25:45

I am assuming that childrens services will be completing an assessment of need across the family so appropriate support/services can be targeted.

What did you want to happen ?

ZillionChocolate Fri 22-Nov-13 20:29:44

WestieMamma I'm sorry you're having these problems. I think it's definitely worth seeing if you can get your solicitor back on board. I agree with DoubleLife's suggested approach.

Don't worry if people on here are judgmental/unsupportive; however clearly you try to explain your situation, it can be difficult to grasp the whole picture from a thread on the Internet.

Darnley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:43:54

I don't think I am being either judgemental or unsupportive.

I am trying to explain what I think is happening and to also establish what the OP thought would happen.

Childrens services are legally obliged to carry out certain actions, whether popular or not. You only have to read the daily mail to see what happens when they don't.

The OP has said she is not in the UK, so there will be differences in approach and legislation that those of us on this thread may not be aware of.

I would add however, as a social worker of over 20 years, I, nor any of my colleagues, ever had the time or the inclination to do anything out of spite. Particularly if it would mean more work...

tiredlady Fri 22-Nov-13 21:16:49

I agree with Darnley, in that acting out of spite is an unlikely motivation.

Perhaps they have noted some concerns and feel the OP needs more support in parenting. They may well have felt that prior to having a baby the OP didn't need help as she was managing to look after herself on her own, but now with the demands of a baby she may need further input from Children's services

Contrary to popular belief, SS are not hovering about trying to snatch children from their parents.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 21:22:57

That's exactly how they are trying to interpret the information they have been given DeWe, that if he's ill I won't seek help for him because it's out of routine. This is totally wrong and contrary to what they have told about the difficulties I have. I find it difficult to explain in words. It's not about timetables it about being tied to making sure the things I have to do are done to perfection at the expense of taking care of myself.

So for example, every morning I get baby up feed him, get him dressed, make his bed, empty the nappy bin, wash up his bottles and sterilise them, sing with him, play with him, cuddle him until he falls asleep and if he's fretful cuddle him while he sleeps. He's clean, well fed, loved and happy. Meanwhile the day has passed and I've eaten nothing, drunk nothing, not got showered or dressed, and fallen further behind with my studies.

The support I'm supposed to get is to help me learn what is 'good enough'. So for example, my kitchen, which is always clean and tidy takes a few minutes to do instead of the few hours it currently takes. The aim of my occupational therapist is to create free-time, which I don't currently have so she can then work with me on going out and meeting people and having a better life balance.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Fri 22-Nov-13 21:25:16

WestieMamma

I'd just like to wish you strength and good luck.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Nov-13 21:30:31

Thank you enrique. I'm feeling a bit fragile at the moment.

Tiredlady they know nothing about my parenting. They have never even met my baby. All the people who have say they have no concerns at all.

tiredlady Fri 22-Nov-13 21:46:52

OP, if what you describe is correct then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You sound as if you are meeting all your baby's needs appropriately.

However SS are just doing their job. Certainly on paper, someone who is quite rigid and fixed in their routine might well find the unpredictability of a baby challenging, and for some people that may need to be looked into further. Maybe someone just needs to come round your house to see you in action to realise you are doing fine.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 23-Nov-13 04:52:41

CailinDana hit the nail on the head with this

"Some "professionals" working with vulnerable people seem to enjoy the power they have and prefer to think their clients are helpless idiots who are subject to their whim. So when someone strong and determined like you comes along the power balance is upset and theh get a vindictive "how dare you" attitude partly I think because you remind them that their clients are actual people with feelings and opinions. "

This is exactly what happened to me with my first SW (I have a physical disability), she wasn't a nasty person at all, in fact I think she was very kind and motivated by wanting to help. However she just couldn't conceive of a disabled person being an independent and equal person to everyone else. All her actions were designed to force me to behave in the passive victimy way she believed disabled people should be. It was almost like I caused a cognitive dissonance on her part, which she resolved by trying to take away my self agency and dignity.

Through 'nice' motivations but hugely damaging. Luckily it got so bad that it became quite clear she wasn't able to work with disabled people and especially with me. (she tried to declare me mentally incompetent with her 'evidenced' being that I disagreed with her (about being mentally incompetent!) and i am physically disabled.

I actually found it hard to get people to step in as they couldn't believe she was actually trying to do that, as it was just so bizarre, however when i persuaded people that she was indeed trying to do this (by shoeing them the libellots documentation), at least I had a whole host of people saying 'don't be ridiculous' to her. I can't imagine what would have happened if I actually had had some kind of mental problem as that kind of mud sticks.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 23-Nov-13 05:06:15

Btw I don't think it follows to say that the OP asked them to get involved therefore she should expect this.

She's had three years fighting to get a small amount of practical support from the Adult Social Care team... Who assessed her as having certain needs, but then refused to provide support, even when ordered to by a court. When she has finally managed to get some action by the adult team, why should she then expect them to call her parenting into doubt and refer to children's services? Just because she's forced the adult team to do their statutory duty by her as a disabled person?

I know she is not in the UK, but for illustrative purposes...
Our legislation is clear:

Adult ss must support the disabled persons needs to parent. (not children's services), as in the first instance the child is not the one in need, the adult is, and by solving their needs the child's potential needs will be addressed.

Adult ss have a statutory obligation to provide care for the needs the disabled person has been assessed as having, if they do not provide this care, and a child is assessed as in need/ at risk... It is the local authorities who has caused this situation, not the disabled person.

It is only when the adults needs are met and the child still appears at risk/ in need that things need to be progressed, OR the child appears subject to neglect from other sources/ reasons than stemming from unmet adult needs.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 23-Nov-13 05:09:19

Btw I totally agree with the poster that said the children's team may well be alot nicer/ more professional than the awful individuals on the adult team. They may come with wrong 'facts' having been given to them, but they should be able to see past then to the actual situation

WestieMamma Wed 11-Dec-13 15:45:59

I have 2 people from children's services coming out tomorrow. I'm so frightened I can't think straight and I haven't slept for weeks. I know I shouldn't worry because I know there is nothing wrong for them to find, I keep telling myself that but it's not sinking in.

A lady comes round from the family support unit every week (sort of like the UKs Homestart except a qualified, paid role within the council here - so has the same head boss as social services). She just comes to chat and keep me company as I'm so isolated. She's said that she is 100% behind me, that she deals with ss and children needing support all the time and she sees nothing to justify this investigation. She also told me that the social worker who made the referral is new, in fact she'd only been in the job 2 days when she met me and made the referral and she doesn't believe she's had any dealings with an adult with high functioning autism before. hmm

WestieMamma Wed 11-Dec-13 15:54:21

Also my occupational therapist directed me to the ss statements to the Court of Appeal. My need for routine and checklists is being given as evidence of my inability to care for my son but in the court statements the previous social workers all give this as proof of the fact I manage fine and don't need any help whatsoever. hmm

sykadelic15 Wed 11-Dec-13 17:07:00

Wow. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. Sounds to me like you have your son's care totally under control.

Are you able to have anyone there while CS are there? As a support for you to make sure you're not railroaded at any point?

WestieMamma Wed 11-Dec-13 18:09:19

My husband and daughter will be here. I'm really worried that the stress will turn me into a blubbering mess and ss will think that is my normal state.

auntpetunia Wed 11-Dec-13 19:00:32

Is it possible for your family support worker to be present? I'd make some notes of thinga your occ therapist mentioned pointing out that a high court judge didn't have a problem and then turn any questions around to make them explain why they think a newly qualified sw knows better than the judge and therapists. Is your husband able to speak for you? Take a deep breath before answering any question. Good luck, hopefully it'll just be a formality.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Wed 11-Dec-13 19:02:47

Oh good luck flowers

bluecheeseforbreakfast Wed 11-Dec-13 19:08:42

Good luck for tomorrow.

The lady from the family support unit will be able to give an idea of how you are when not under preasure.

I am sorry you are having to go through this especially as it sounds like the social worker was far off the mark with the referal.

bochead Wed 11-Dec-13 19:10:58

perhaps you could print off a couple of information sheets for the SW?

http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/understanding-behaviour/organising-sequencing-and-prioritising.aspx is one suggestion. Autism covers such a huge spectrum of abilities/disabilities that the SW likely has no clue at all as to what to expect when she knocks on your doorstep.

Often people make stupid judgements because they don't know what they don't know iyswim. If you are able to explain what the OT is for then you'll be fine.

This SW hasn't met you, or your child and doesn't know you. You have court documents that clearly list the type of support you require, (and by default what you don't need). All the professionals working directly with your child are happy with the standard of care you provide (the SW HAS to take into account the opinion of your midwife, health visitor, support worker, OT, GP, pead etc, etc).

You'll be fine. Offer her a chocolate biccy & a cup of tea and answer her questions as honestly as you can. You could use the appointment to ask questions of her, such as what does she think of the local Mums and babies groups - can she recommend any friendly ones, or are there any special activities for babies being run by the council over the Xmas hols that she thinks your child would enjoy?

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 11-Dec-13 20:05:35

Trying to remember things from your first thread. Am I correct that in the country your in,a dx of ASD has to go off to ss after the dr has done it and they are legally obliged as a minimum to give you a certain amount of support no matter what other none paid support you have and the only way to recive any support of any description is via ss,and that's why you had to fight it?

Also during the process they tried to get your dx removed and stated you did not have it?

revivingshower Wed 11-Dec-13 20:07:59

This is a very bad thing they have done by denying you help, then actually making life harder than ever for you. Try not to worry, but do get everyone supporting you to help. They do sound difficult and you want to stop any hint of trouble.

WestieMamma Wed 11-Dec-13 20:59:31

That's correct Sock. Their original decision was that my only problem was low self asteem and therefore outside the remit of the special law relating to autism support. When that failed they argued that my use of routines and checklists proved I didn't need any support and then when that failed they appealed on the basis that I am married and marriage law requires the spouses to support each other and therefore any help I needed should be provided by my husband. The Court of Appeal judge said that he found ss to be 'disingenuous about the difficulties Westie experiences'.

WestieMamma Thu 12-Dec-13 10:20:52

Well they've been and gone. They were only here 10 minutes. They said they were really worried when they received the referral and thought they'd have to intervene. They decided to speak to the HV, family support lady and my occupational therapist first to speed up the process. From those conversations they had already pretty much decided to close the case and now they've met us, it's closed.

bluecheeseforbreakfast Thu 12-Dec-13 10:35:11

Great news!

BlueGoddess Thu 12-Dec-13 10:59:13

That's fantastic news, all that stress for nothing!

I hope that stern words will be had to that woman who referred you, as the whole thing seems to have been a waste of everyone's time.

revivingshower Thu 12-Dec-13 11:41:53

That's great and at least you know you have a few people who support you and you can rely on. I hope you now start getting some of the help you need in other areas.

auntpetunia Thu 12-Dec-13 16:28:07

That's fantastic news. I Am glad they did their research.I also hope strong words are had with the newbie for wasting everyone's time.

WestieMamma Thu 12-Dec-13 21:12:38

I certainly feel there needs to be some further training. The primary purpose of this section of adult services is to provide support to people with disabilities. If their lack of knowledge puts people through the stress they've put me through then they are failing in this purpose.

sykadelic15 Sat 14-Dec-13 05:14:13

Excellent news!

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 14-Dec-13 10:53:44

Yay! I'm so happy for you! Phew, you can breathe a sigh of relief now wine

Yes they need some training, but if it's anything like the uk then they won't get it as this sw is in adult ss, not children's, and so not the same chain of command. And the adult ss team are the ones who have been so dreadful, and have a vested interest in covering their arses.

Yes am very cynical but it's from my experience, as you know Westie I got referred to children's services approx 7 times in total! Fortunately they were even more stupid than the sw that referred you as they couldn't come up with a plausible reason beyond 'well she's disabled and disabled people can't be good parents'. Children's services just kept on closing the case and never actually came out to see me, they had a 2 min call with me the first time and after that just kept saying no to adult ss. The sw responsible never got told off/ trained about basic equality and discrimination, as it was in no ones interest except mine, and I had no voice with them. Since changed sw and the one I have now seems much more knowledgeable and professional (fingers crossed!).

The best result for you is that now you know children's services are professional and do their jobs which means they cannot be used as the 'bogey man' by adult ss anymore. basically there is nothing left to threaten you with - great news for you!

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