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Ofsted suspended childminder -desperate for advice

(46 Posts)
tiddler3 Sun 17-Feb-13 19:53:58

My sister is a childminder and 2 weeks ago was falsely accused of a serious offence against a child. She reported to Ofsted immediately and was suspended pending police and social services investigation. Since then the police have dropped all charges against her but social Services say they are passing the matter to Ofsted case management. She has not been given any advice or support and we don't know what to expect to happen next. Will Ofsted inspectors visit her at her home or do they just review the information collected during the multi agency strategy meetings that have been held already? We are totally in shock and can't believe that one child's lies can ruin someone's life so easily. Is there anyone out there who has had a similar experience? Will my sister be allowed to reopen or is it a forgone conclusion that mud will stick? Advice desperately needed before my sister totally cracks up. Thanks.

GallopingGertie Sun 17-Feb-13 23:58:05

Thats really awful - what a stressful time for her.
Private counselling is available from the GP - you make an appointment and ask for it - sometimes its self-referring. It can help to talk things through with someone.
Try not to worry - she won't be the first person this has happened to. Could it be a 'cry for help' from the child about another area of their life - emotional transferance etc ?
Getting some legal advice might also be a good step. A lawyer may be able to make enquiries that will help ascertain background and facts thats she's not aware of at present that could help too. Plus it will make her feel more supported and as if there is someone on her side in it all.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 18-Feb-13 00:07:51

I'm sorry, I don't know what happens or what she needs to do, I just didn't want to read & run.

If she was my childminder and I didn't have any concerns previously it certainly wouldn't stop me using her - I hope she finds all her clients are the same. I also wouldn't be annoyed at her for me having to find alternative care while she was shut down.

I hope it's resolved soon and she doesn't suffer too much because of it.

thanks for her x

Ollibobs Mon 18-Feb-13 00:12:59

Does your sister have home insurance? If so, might have access to free legal cover as an add on to her policy. If so, she may get up to £50k-£100k worth of advice etc which may help her situation.

I have not experienced this but my friend did. She could not childmind until Ofsted had concluded their investigation but was able to straight after.

I am so sorry your sister is experiencing this.

If she is an ncma member they can help.

tiddler3 Mon 18-Feb-13 08:47:29

Thanks everyone for the help. I think our biggest problem at the mo is the awful uncertainty of just waiting and not being told what will happen next, She doesnt know whether the Ofsted people will just arrive on her doorstep, or whether they do whatever they do at a meeting somewhere that she won't be told about. On the first day they sent their Investigating inspector to see her and she said she had no concerns at all, but since then we have heard nothing. She doesn't know whether to get her paperwork etc all ready for a full inspection, or what? They don't tell you anything. She has been to GP and got some help, waiting for counselling. And she has seen a lawyer, who is sort of waiting to see what happens next I think. NCMA offer legal support, up to £50000, but only after you are actually shut down, and only 'if they think you stand a good chance of winning' - is that their cop out clause??! Does nayone know whether Ofsted lot will come back?? We are afraid to go out at the mo, although my sis not very keen to go out anyway, she is so so upset.

minderjinx Mon 18-Feb-13 09:41:43

Sorry to hear you are going through this. I can only suggest that it would be wise to make sure all her paperwork is in order and up to date (and perhaps give your sister something positive to focus on while waiting for developments). Letters of support from other parents might also be useful (I have heard from others in a similar situiation that OFSTED were keen to get other families' views).

apotomak Mon 18-Feb-13 11:05:33

Under the new EYFS it mentions a full inspection being brought forward so I would say get ready.
It can take some time for Ofsted to lift the suspension as they have to have a meeting to discuss even though the police finished their investigation they have to finish theirs as well.
If your sister has been visited by CIE from Ofsted she should have the name of the person who visited as that person is responsible for her case. She can ring and ask where they're at with everything and how long it's going to take.

tiddler3 Mon 18-Feb-13 12:05:45

Thanks for that, useful as she has not been given a named contact at all. As the Ofsted officer came at the beginning does this mean Ofsted won't come back again at this point? She was only here an hour. Surely they would need more info when they are deciding whether she will be allowed to work again or not?? She got told off for asking parents to write in their support to Ofsted!

apotomak Mon 18-Feb-13 13:03:51

There's no point in asking parents to write to Ofsted in her support. I would say it would be good to get some letters to keep on file for herself when Ofsted comes to inspect. Then she can show them to Ofsted.
The officer that came to visit her must have been from CIE department of Ofsted as they deal with complaints/allegations ... they are not regular inspectors. So she needs to speak to the very person who visited her (surely she must have introduced herself before she let her in). If she does not know the name she can ring the general Ofsted line and ask for it ... once they have her EY number they'll be able to pull up her details and see who visited ... if she was not given a direct number she can ask to be put through to her.
Also she needs to document (for herself) the whole thing. She needs to write in her own words exactly what the allegation was and what steps she took, who she rang etc. It's good practice to take the names of the people she spoke to and note it all down. She needs to make sure her policies are tight especially the complaints policy and the safeguarding policy and that she follows them to the letter.
Hope it all gets sorted soon. It's a horrible situation to be in.

tiddler3 Mon 18-Feb-13 15:17:25

Thanks for this advice, I will pass it to her, and hopefully things will get sorted out soon. It is really shocking to see how vulnerable childminders actually are. I wonder if other people realise this when they sign up. There seems to be very little support at times of trouble, my sister has been left to fend for herself, and although some of her CM friends have been in touch in support of her they have all apparently been told not to make contact. This seems so wrong and unfair. The stress and worry is nigh on unbearable, and all through no fault of her own.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 18-Feb-13 15:29:54

as apotomak said but she needs to write down the facts, rather than her interpretation of the facts which is why the paperwork is so important (such as the attendance records, policies, is she displaying the OFSTED telephone numbers in her setting and has she communicated with the parents what the complaints procedure is).

tiddler3 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:37:20

Hi, she has got all that in place and has double checked everything. She has also written a new policy around protection from children who lie. We are now just waiting..... Very stressful. I was wondering whether anyone else in this situation could tell us what the next part of the procedure looks like? We are assuming they will send out an inspection team or at least an inspector, but is that how it's done? Is there a common arrangement for what happens now, or does it vary from case to case?

sweetestB Tue 19-Feb-13 16:50:34

That is one of the reasons why I'm closing l
Never happened to me, but as I always knew before becoming a CM that even a malicious anonymous complaint could cause this kind of situation your sister is facing.

Strix Tue 19-Feb-13 21:10:32

Your poor sister...

Ofsted will:
Shut her down
Remove the continuity of care from all those innocent children
Not give a rats arse about the business they have impacted
Then proceed with a witch hunt against your sister in an attempt to justify their poor judgement

Something similar happened to my MUCH LOVED AND CHERISHED childminder fairly recenry.

The result is that I detest of dyed and now see them for the quango that they are. Someone should shut them down.

Strix Tue 19-Feb-13 21:11:46

Of dyed = ofsted

RosieGirl Wed 20-Feb-13 09:14:34

It's all about easy targets, I understand the need to protect children, but when you hear the awful cases of abuse which SS have known about for ages but not done anything until its too late. Similar to my kitchen being picked over by a little man from the council, tutting about me having a dog, and other things (I am scrupulously clean) yet we have all been eating god knows what for years. I know of a lady who illegally minds, proudly told us that someone had reported her, bit all they did was send her a letter to ask if she has been childminding, she said no, nothing else happened.

Sorry for you sister, I hope she is fully cleared, although I understand it will take a long time for her to get over it.

HSMMaCM Wed 20-Feb-13 09:39:04

I am constantly worrying about this happening to DH and I, as Childminding is our only income. Look after your suster , as it's not just her business, it's also her reputation.

harryhausen Wed 20-Feb-13 10:12:32

No real advice. I just wanted to add support to your sister.

My own Dsis was an outstanding CM for 10 years. She had some run ins with Ofsted but nothing like thishmm.

I also have used a CM ever since both my dcs were babies. They still go to her now fir a few hours after school each week (they're 8 and 5! I keep thinking I should stop it but we all couldn't bear it). I've NEVER had even a small problem with my CM.

I really hope this sorts itself quickly for your sisters sake. Good CM's are worth the same as gold xxx

tiddler3 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:48:50

Thanks everyone. Oh dear, reading reply from Strix - do you really think she will be shut down permanently?? It is her only form of income! She is already really strapped financially and this is really hard for her. Surely if the allegation is false they would not have a reason not to let her continue??

Strix Wed 20-Feb-13 16:57:06

No, not permanently. But a good 4-6 weeks is certainly not unheard of. Ofsted has been truy hrrible to my childminder. It has been nothing short of a whitch hunt to find something wrong with her after every single parent whose children she cared for wrote Ofsted VERY strong letters supporting the childminder and condemning their decisions to suspend her.

This happened before Christmas and, as you can tell, I am still absolutely livid. I used to think Ofsted had their place, and now think whatever portion of government funding they get would be better spend elsewhere.

I hate them for they did to my lovely childminder. Really really cannot understand what value they bring to the system.

Your sister could, of course, work as a nanny if they shut her down.

Although, when my (truly fabulous!) childminder was shut down my son (almost 2 at the time) was completely extracted from all of his friends because Ofsted tol her she could not pick him up at school and drive him to the other childminder where all of the other children went until her registration was reinstated. She doesn't even NEED to be registered to give my son a ride somewhere else for 10 minutes. Yet, they felt it was their place to ensure my son was completely left out of the arrangement. Putting the welfare of firdren first MY FUCKING ARSE!!!!

I am still slightly annoyed with them. Can you tell?

tiddler3 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:34:31

Wow! The inspector who came at the start seemed quite understanding. It seems ss are holding it all up, but we can't understand what they are actually doing now. They don't tell us anything. Will they actually come back to do more of an inspection? I think my sis would do well if they did, she is so good art what she does. But we don't know whether they just decide stuff in meetings that she is not invited to!

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/compliance-investigation-and-enforcement-handbook-childminding-and-childcare

Can't link properly as on phone but this came out yesterday and may help

tiddler3 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:42:44

Thanks for that we'll check it out.

tiddler3 Thu 21-Feb-13 11:03:19

Thanks so much for that link LesbianMummy1. Really useful information and although we had to then refer to various legal acts etc to see what various bits meant it did give us a much clearer idea of how the whole thing works. A good guide for all CMs to look at I would think. It seems to me a VERY risky career choice, with scant support when things go wrong.

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