Need Advice regarding Social Services(22 Posts)
This is probably going to sound ridiculous, but I have concerns for the welfare of an unborn child. I am seriously considering getting in touch with someone from child protection services, but not sure if they would listen to me or laugh me out of the building. I need to know whether people think this sounds serious or whether I am just over-reacting.
This person is my friend, or was until I tried to coax her into using the money she received from the Government to buy things for the baby instead of wasting them on silly things like going to the cinema twice a week, buying loads of expensive food at the cinema, taking taxis everywhere and buying expensive takeaways to eat everynight for dinner. However unhealthy but tasty they may seem.
The mother has no money, no job and was homeless up until a couple of months ago. She is very negative towards her 'bump' and is constantly moaning at it and about it on facebook, about how its all the bump's fault that she is sick all the time and why her back is sore etc etc, it seems to be more than just a normal pregnant woman complaining that her back is sore, its almost as if she resents the baby, but is relishing the attention it gets her...
She is also obsessed with making sure no one 'labels' her child, so none of her friends or family are allowed to buy anything blue or pink, she has not told anyone what she is having and is keeping that to herself. She is demanding that people buy black or white clothes for the child. I am worried here, not just because of her strange attitude, but because I wonder if the gender of her child is not to her liking and this is her way of coping with it. This notion is so extreme that she has turned down offers of free baby items because she didnt think they were neutral enough.
She recently moved into a council flat and was given around £1000 to decorate the flat and buy appliances/furniture with it. She is also on ESA and had been on it for almost a year ( during which time she had no bills, council tax or rent to pay, just food for herself as he was living in a homeless complex awaiting a flat of her own, but had managed to waste all of it by getting taxis everywhere she went and buying takeaways every night of the week) She has spent almost all of the £1000 on a new colour scheme for her living room, which included throwing away a free couch that was given to her in favour of buying one that matched the colours she wanted and a ridiculous sum on fancy wallpaper and paint, she doesnt have any carpets down in the flat and managed to buy a fridge freezer and a cooker second hand from whatever money was left over.
She also has problems with hygiene, namely that she doesn't wash very often, herself or her clothes and she brushes her teeth about twice a week, I'm worried about what she plans to teach her child about hygiene when she does seem to believe it is important herself.
When she found out she was pregnant, she had also just split from the baby's dad (not because she was pregnant, but because he was sick fed up of supporting her financially when she didn't want to find herself a job but wanted to sit about playing games on facebook) she attempted suicide, and has since been seeing a mental health nurse once a week. The nurse was recently at her flat for a meeting and had a look round at the progress that was being made, she has told the mother that she must finish a room completely, get flooring down and get the baby's room ready before the health visitor comes up for the first visit. The baby is due in 7 weeks, and i personally can't see that happening.
The baby's father has purchased a cot for her and a changing table, he also gives her money and his family have gave her lots of second hand baby items including a pram, moses basket, blankets and clothes as she cannot afford to buy them herself. All she had ready herself was one sleepsuit! She had mentioned that she would buy 7 sleepsuits and 7 vests and wash them on rotation - as if this number of clothes would be sufficient for a baby?!? It is almost as if she is not prepared at all. I don't think she even has in nappies, wipes bibs etc for when the baby does arrive. I know she has spent around £75 on bottles, a bottle warmer and an electric steriliser, despite the fact that she plans to breast feed exclusively.....?? I know that baby's father wants the child, he would be a far superior choice of caregiver in my opinion - he has a full time job, has how own place and has a large supporting family, whilst the mother is slowly distancing herself from her family because many have voiced concerns about money, getting things organised for the baby etc and she doesnt want to hear any of it.
I suppose I am putting this up here, in part to vent a little, but also to hear others opinions. Does any of what i have said sound like it warrants a mention to Social services or am I being silly? If I thought for one second that things would change when the baby was born, and she would suddenly realise that the baby is more important than her and her colour scheme then I would not say another word about this to anyone, but I can't see any changes being made.
I have spoken to a close friend about this, and she thinks that getting the social services involved can be good thing, as they can help her to get prepared properly and help her out with getting appliances for her house etc, but I am not so sure about being the one who pulls the trigger on this.
Any help appreciated
if she was getting pissed every night or taking shed loads of drugs then i would say go for it.
however being feckless and irresponsible isn't a crime.
the midwife sounds like she is keeping an eye on things anyway.
Thanks for your reply mildmannered - I had hoped I was just over-reacting, I really don't want to get social services involved because of silly concerns.
I did think that the midwife and mental health nurse would be keeping an eye on her, so that did help put my mind at ease.
It can't hurt to give social services a call. They should behave professionally and listen to what you have to say. Once you have given them the information, it will be up to them to decide whether to take any further action or not.
Based on what you have written here IMO they wouldn't do much. Sadly, there are families with much bigger problems. However, ss might have other information you don't have and might be able to put all the pieces together. If anything does happen, it will be ss who 'pull the trigger' not you.
It doesn't sound dreadful tbh.
Does anyone who hasn't had a baby really know what it will be like, how many sleepsuits they'll go through - buying bottles even though she intends to bf seems sensible to me actually! It doesn't seem real to any new mum until they are one!
Not being very hygenic isn't a crime either - being grubby never really did anyone any harm.
I'm sure her MH nurse will have flagged to the health visitor team that she is being seem for MH issues and they will keep an eye on her.
You never know she might actually be a great mum, once she has become one and it's real!
Thanks for your replies ladies. I do agree that what I have posted isn't terrible when compared to other people's problems, but her situation and general attitude do concern me, but maybe I am blowing things out of proportion.
Titchy - whilst I know that its hard to know how much clothes a newborn requires, they do require some clothes, and at present, she still has only one sleepsuit - the clothes received from the baby's father's family have yet to sbe sorted through to throw out any that are not gender neutral, and after she has completed this task. I reckon she will have about 10 vests, 6 sleepsuits and a romper suit - and that will be it! Unless you are lucky and you don't get a baby that sicks back up on everything, this will not be enough. She hasn't got any other clothes for when the baby grows out of these things, its not all down to her becoming a new mum and everything being new to her, mostly its down to her not having the money to buy any of it and down to her not seeing the need to spend her money on baby stuff.
Again, I do think it sensible to buy bottles, despite wanting to breastfeed, I think spending £50 on 40 bottles is a bit excessive and unnecessary, but maybe that's just me.
I do appreciate the replies and the advice in them.
I think it best that I do not contact SS at this time, as I am starting to think my concerns are more silly by the minute, once you see it written down, it seems like I am over-reacting or being over-cautious. I trust that the midwife or Mental Health nurse are doing their best with her and keeping an eye on her, and will do all they can to keep her right.
I think as she already has a mh nurse then you do not need to worry. No doubt he / she will keep a close eye on the situation and escalate if necessary.
Not being very hygenic isn't a crime either - being grubby never really did anyone any harm.
I don't agree with that. Hygiene and cleanliness are very important with a baby. If she washes the baby as little as herself the baby will get sore in the nappy area. If it continues as the baby becomes a child the child's teeth will rot. Added to that, i remember clearly the kids at school who got bullied for being smelly and dirty, its horrendous and very damaging.
(actually for a while i was one of those kids )
sounds like different standards, however not ideal but that is it tbh. the mental health nurse is duty bound to monitor her ability to parent and flag up any imediate concerns and complete a caf. so sounds like the sfeguarding is in place and you do not need to worry about calling social services, there does not seem to be anything just yet to sugest she will be placing this child at any risk of significant harm.
Poor baby and I say that as the child of someone who gave up caring about herself, her house or her kids so I know what it's like.
I think you should call social services.
That child does sound like it will be left to suffer and it will not Hurt if they were involved in the child's care.
If you rang and told them what you have told us and that the father has a job plus large supportive family the child would most likely be put with him rather than having the child in a home.
I think your right to be concerned and to me it's just saying that your a caring and nice person.
Let Us know what you do
Blimey she's not even had the baby yet and you've had it removed already!
that simply would never happen, childrens services will talk with mh coordinaor if they do anything, as I said mh cordintor is duty bound to assess and monitor parenting responsibilities.
Judging on what you have told us, she sounds lazy and feckless but until she has the baby you can make no judgement on her ability to be a good mum.
My fuckwit ex threatened to report me to SS when I was pregnant. My mum panicked and booked in with a family law specialist who assured her that child services would tell him they do not deal with foetus', only babies and children. They would then laugh at him.
If the mental health team are involved and she intends to be involved with a hv I'm sure they will flag things up to SS, they have a duty to.
Dooinmecleaning. That's not strictly true. As a social worker I have worked on cases where an unborn child has been deemed to be at risk from a parent and the child has been removed pretty much immediately after birth. The planning has taken place before the child has been born. However in this case the MH nurse would generally involve social services if they felt there was a need.
I doubt she would have told the MH nurse what you wrote. But the MH nurse might have other concerns that you don't know about. When you put it all together it might increase the level of support she will need/get.
So I think you should inform social services. Not to cause her any trouble or because you think she will be a bad mum but because she's your friend and you care about her and her baby and you want to make sure they have a full picture of what's going on so they can support her as much as possible.
For all you know they might think everything is going ok or they might be concerned but not taking things further because they're not aware of what's going on.
If they don't think what you wrote is cause for concern then they won't act on it.
It's not the end of the world to be an irresponsible adult. But you don't learn how to be responsible for yourself, a small child and how to cope with your MH issues too overnight. I imagine it will be a big shock for her (especially when she seems to have such a negative view of the baby already). But she's lucky to have you as a friend looking out for her.
I can completely understand your concern, she sounds like she had no clue what is about to happen and what its like looking after a child. I would call the NSPCC for some advice, they are there for grown ups too.
I hope she sorts herself out, its not looking good. But remember ss are not the enemy, it sounds like she will be referred to them anyway.
But what are your concerns exactly?
She's had problems for which she's already getting help. She's crap with money, no good at decorating and likes whinging on Facebook.
Do you have any reason to believe that her baby will be unloved, neglected or mistreated?
Had you said she's a crack whore drinking a bottle of vodka a day then, yeah, a call to the social might be in order.
She sounds disorganised and chaotic and the baby might just be the making of her and indeed none of the crimes you describe indicate that she intends to hurt or neglect her baby. You should butt out and keep your judgements to yourself.
I think u r being harsh saying father would b better looking after the baby when u havnt seen her interact with the baby. It sounds like u r a bit pissed off at all the money she's receiving and wasting on taxis and takeaways. She might struggle on bus swollen feet sickness etc and at least she's buying food not booze or crack! U just resent her being given all that money
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