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Ofsted suspended childminder -desperate for advice(46 Posts)
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.
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.
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.
for her x
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
Your poor sister...
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.
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.
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.
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 this.
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
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??
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?
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!
Can't link properly as on phone but this came out yesterday and may help
Thanks for that we'll check it out.
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.
Glad it was helpful. I hope your sister comes through this ok.
Childminders are so vulnerable this is why it pays to make sure you have as much information as possible and makes the paperwork seem worthwhile.
What's worse is lots of complaints are malicious because a parent owes money that the childminder is chasing them for etc the real reasons are often overlooked.
Please let us know the end result.
Having been put in a situation by a parent who had 'concerns' with regard to another minded child in my setting, I had to call Osted myself, who in turn called the Child Protection team,
I wasnt shut down, but the inspector who came out gave me an action, but I couldnt see how I was to implement it, and told her so, all she would say that I would receive written notice of said action and I would be given 2 weeks to reply and tell Ofsted/her how I was going to put it into effect.
2 whole weeks of worryring and stress later, I still had not had said action so I chased it. I was put though to the inspector who told me that she had decided not to go through with the action, but forgot to let me know!!
I was very calm and told her how worried and upset I had been, all she she sais was 'oh, really' It was like she couldnt understand what I was worried about, I received no sorry, just a letter a few days after to say they wouldnt be putting any thing on my file..
My heart goes out to your sister and hope it is all resolved soon for her.
Oh that's exactly the way it seems to go! Nobody has kept my sis informed and she is in a terrible state, almost at breakdown point. I even wonder if she will be emotionally fit to work if she actually gets allowed to reopen. Looking at the stats it seems most people are eventually allowed to continue. As so many allegations are malicious and untrue I wonder whether there should be some sort of support offered for the poor CM victims. Surely NCMA should have support officers who can liaise and support their area CMs when this kind of thing happens. No one has given my sis any support except her parents, who have been wonderful.
I am surprised ncma are not supporting her what support is available in your local area ncma co-ordinators or local
Unfortunately NCMA back off and can't be seen for dust when there are investigations going on - even when my colleague was completely innocent and they knew it. No help whatsoever, another reason to leave NCMA or rather PACEY!
Mindingalongtime that is so different to my experience and I am sorry that's happening in other parts of the country.
Well that's exactly how it is in our part of the country too, Mindingalongtime. The local co-ordinator turned up on the day the news broke, but she was already booked to come anyway. Since then we have had sight nor sound of her! LesbianMummy1 you seem to have it very good in your area!
Tiddler3 our ncma staff have all just lost their jobs so things likely to change. It so wrong that childminders can be so isolated.
Yes I agree. And no back up plan for when this sort of thing happens. I had no idea it happened so frequently either
I have heard of about eight childminders receiving complaints etc just in my local area since September which seems really high when there are only 170 childminders. It so wrong that this can jeopardise people in one phonecall.
I totally agree. And they don't seen interested in the poor CMs once they are suspended- they just leave them to rot.
I had a complaint made against me last year and Ofsted visited unannounced and did virtually a full inspection, - it was twice as long as my official inspection. I had no NCMA locally to contact for support and Head Office said there was nothing they could do, I was very isolated and also felt as though my professionalism had been challenged and it really knocked my confidence.
Fortunately for me, it was a malicious complaint as the inspector had thought before she came, but a thorough investigation took placed and I had all the documentation and evidence to back me up, plus parents arrived when Ofsted was here, including the parent of the child in question, that was interesting!
Yes it's very sickening isn't it? Did you continue to have that child and parent after things died down? Must be difficult to work with them after that. I also wonder whether once there has been one allegation made whether you are more vulnerable of ever another one gets made- God forbid! Does it lie on your file?
It was't the parent who reported me, she was sympathetic to me, and backed me up to Ofsted with a written letter too. Without saying anymore as I do not wish to be outed, there was nothing entered on my files as Ofsted said they could see clearly that it was malicious - another childminder, who accidentlly dropped herself in it to all, by repeating at a group the detailed list of 'supposed' offences word for word, she was
torn to shreds taken to task by the minders.
Well I'm glad you survived it all. This has been a massive shock to us and I worry about how easy it is to ruin someone's life in this way. I don't know if my sis will come through this with her business or not, but I do know she will never be the same again.
I continued to have the child of the parent who had a 'concern' over another mindee, for over a year untill he started a new school back in September, that I couldnt pick up from, too far away.
The father of the child the other parent had a 'concern' about, was so very, very angry about it all.
Mum told me they/He emailed and phoned both Ofsted and The Safeguarding team several times over the 'concern' saying how ridiculous it all was.'
(As did the 3rd set of parents, as unfortunatly their child was 'involved' in the 'concern' too)
It was bloomin awkward especially at pick up time, as I was always on tenter hooks just in case he was here picking up at the same time as the parent who had the 'concern' arrived. Thankfully it never happened.
I had no support either, apart from another forum I go on, without breaking confidentiality, I had a 'rant' (if you can call it that) on there, they were fantastic with support and advice.
Hi there. We are still waiting for the outcome of this horrible mess. It seems that the cp team are holding everything up and have not passed the matter on to ofsted yet. Ofsted say they have to wait for safeguarding to complete whatever they are doing. But the thing is, they don't seem to be actually doing anything! I don't know how much longer it's going to take. Very unfair as my sis has no other income. I'm wondering if they are hoping she will just resign in despair. We don't see what else can be holding it up as we have already been told the strategy meeting judged the allegation as ' unsubstantiated' 2 weeks ago. So surely that should be that??
Tiddler3 I am so sorry that this is still going on I hope your sister gets it sorted soon. I am not sure what to advise but I hope this nightmare ends soon.
There is an alternative to NCMA in the offing called UKCMA they will specialise in this sort of thing and already the one of the co-founders Helen Dawkins has helped a huge number of people over the last year or so she can be found on Facebook if any of you feel you need help - just send her a private message or you can contact her through UKCMA - http://www.ukcma.co.uk/ontheweb/ - hope this helps
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