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Unhappy with residential placement

(45 Posts)
chinax Fri 11-Feb-11 11:57:03

Hi everyone,

I am new to this site but feel pretty desperate at present.
My daughter is 16 yrs old and has a fully funded 52 week placement where she has been since she was 8 yrs old and until 18 months ago we were pretty happy with although not perfect but as you will all know - I feel sure - we do have to compromise more than most being parents of children with severe learning difficulties.
However, 18 months ago a new regime took over running of the school and residential centre and all the old management and lots of staff left and we are now very unhappy indeed with the manner in which everything is being run. These people seem to want total control over the children in their care and treat parents who insist in being actively involved in their childrens' lives horrendously. I know of parents whose child has been excluded with no notice allegedly because he was being disruptive which I find unbelievable when another child whose parents hardly ever visit and is incredibly disruptive is treated totally differently. They have accused us of the most horrendous things as parents, ringing SS behind our backs and telling blatant lies which we strongly believe is because we have had the strength to officially complain about their behaviour and management. What I now find incredible is that our SS now seem to be taking sides with them despite our allerting them to a very serious situation last year which they are still investigating and totally agree was highly contentious and unnacceptable. I am sorry to waffle on - I could list a mile long the issues but am trying to be as brief as possible. My husband is 60 yrs old and retired due to ill health and I am 55. We are so concerned that if there was any way at all our daughter could cope with living at home I would bring her home today but unfortunately her difficulties and autism is so pronounced that although she adores coming home and asks for us constantly, she can only cope being at home for 24 hours and then becomes very violent etc as she is so used to there being a change of carers every 8 hours or so.
I am now desperate to get her out of that place before something really serious happens as these lies about us are now totally out of control and it is making my husband seriously ill. Because of the revised working practises they now operate I honestly dont feel my daughter is totally safe - she was attacked in a very private place on her body a few weeks ago and it was totally covered up! Also one of her main carers has confided in me that she is finding it extremely difficult to cope with my daughters demands and needs as she is being forced to work 15 hour shifts with no break! Where do I turn for help please? Any suggestions at all most gratefully received and if anyone has ever experience anything remotely similar I could really do with a friend right now for some moral support. Mega thanks for listening.

purplepidjin Mon 30-May-11 16:04:08

People to make complaints to:

www.cqc.org.uk/

www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/About-us/FAQs/Complaints2/(language)/eng-GB

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Directories/Localcouncils/index.htm

Also your local MP.

Redecorating her room without evidence of it being her choice is unacceptable. Unhappy staff who are leaving is unacceptable. Taking away your daughter's things (what have they done with your property*?) is unacceptable. Unfortunately, while understandable, screaming down the phone is also unacceptable so bye bye moral highground sad

If your SW is being useless, demand their manager. Or, ring now to get onto the duty SW...

chinax Mon 30-May-11 16:50:54

Wish I had your self control purple!
Sw is absolutely fine now but to be honest I am just exhausted with everything we have had to contend with. Authorities have been much more supportive recently as much has come to light in our defense over recent months since initial posts but now know this woman is behind a great deal of what we had to suffer! Thank god we have only 5 months remaining!! I could go on complaining forever but it is pointless now really until daughter leaves so will be doing all my serious complaining once my daughter is out of there. My dd has to be protected! Hope you never have a similar experience purple as somehow I think you might feel a little differently but accept you are entitled to your opinion.

purplepidjin Mon 30-May-11 17:16:31

I'm the other side, as a support worker. Unfortunately I have been there (from this side) and regularly been the one who took the screaming down the phone. Staff are supposed to be trained to handle crisis situations and, to me, an upset parent needs as much reassurance as an anxious student or resident. I've had to work with people like the person you mention in your post, and they're a bloody nightmare - always have to be seen to be right, heads up management's arses (if they're not in management themselves - these people are never capable of completing any actual useful workso get shunted pdq)

It sounds like your daughter's needs are pretty complex, but is there any way possible you can get Direct Payments and find carers yourself for a few months? I do the odd shift like this for parents (would love to find something a bit more regular) - there are companies which sort out the tax and ni for you, as well as agencies who can provide trained and vetted staff if you want them to.

I hope your daughter is coping with all this. Change is hard, especially when you don't know why it's happening. And the teenage years seem to be the hardest with lots of people with ASD's (hopefully things will get easier for you all when both the placements and hormones settle down)

chinax Mon 30-May-11 22:53:36

Hi purple, to be honest I guessed immediately from your initial response that you were from the "other side" so to speak but I have to say I am immediately impressed that you - for one - are so willing to accept what sometimes can happen. Unfortunately my daughter's needs are extremely complex and she would now find it impossible to live at home. Believe me we did everything within our power to keep her at home but none of the day special schools could cope with her and we were advised she definitely needed 24hr care which we had to admit at the time would be the best for her. She is now 16 and has been in her current placement since she was 8. Obviously I do not expect you to read previous very long posts but to cut an extremely long story short the management of this private centre changed completely 18 months ago and since then our lives have been a nightmare as they want complete control of our dd and would prefer us to be like most of the other parents and basically retreat from our dd's life as much as possible. Even today I have been told I am an issue!! If this was our dd choice then I would be more inclined to give them more space but dd is constantly asking for us and asking to come home and she has now become violent again which she hasn't done for years which we all strongly believe is due to the deterioration of care and why we all feel it is vital she is moved. We are very lucky that our county - she is presently out of county at huge expense - has invested a small fortune in a residential school which is much closer to home and where dd has been granted a place. Can't believe the difference in standards and we just know dd will love it as she responds incredibly well to firm but fair boundaries which we completely support as parents but unfortunately where she is now as you so rightly say purple is full of a--- kissers who don't give two hoots about parents. One other teenager whose mum was similar to me has been excluded because she demanded a breakdown of expenses which were being met from her ds trust. All I ever wanted was to be a mother. I never had a proper family of my own and had 3 babies who died well into pregnancy and then my beautiful dd had a massive brain haemmorhage at 6 months old! I am sorry to ask but doesn't anyone in your line of work ever even try and understand how devastating it is for parents to deal with? Both my husband and I have a beautiful home and are probably what many would consider well off but life often feels desolate because of Dd's difficulties. We just want to try and have as much of a normal relationship as possible and will never,ever give up on dd irrespective of how difficult it isor who we have to fight. Your comments are just so spot on purple but it upsets me so much to hear this behaviour is widespread. These people should be fired! I am still and always will be dd's mum and am enormously proud to be so. How dare anyone try and usurp my position!!

purplepidjin Tue 31-May-11 08:09:48

I don't generally post on a thread unless I've read it, which is why I suggested all the links you can use to kick some ass!

Unfortunately, all the workers who actually give a toss end up either so disillusioned with the lickarses that they leave, or get shunted into sideways promotions because we actually do the work we're employed to do. No promotions or payrises because that would mean the lickarses have to actually get their hands (instead of tongues) dirty...

Yes, parents can be a pita to staff. Always looking over our shoulders, checking up on us, making unworkable suggestions, demanding this that and the other for their pfb. It really doesn't take much to have some courtesy for someone who has been forced into the horrible position of realising that they are not the best person to care for their own child.

Your daughter's aggression is her telling them she's not happy. The first thing they should have been taught is that Behaviour = Communication, and your daughter sounds unsettled, frustrated and possibly frightened? Take away the things that are unsettling her and her frustration will decrease to a level that means she's no longer hurting people. C'mon, people, basic stuff here!

I'm not a parent, but there are a bunch of us out here who do our best to keep our residents and students happy, support them to live their own lives, and encourage family visits (no matter how dreadful the family, and I've met a few! Unfortunately my stories would all identify me so can't post here)

I'm very happy where I currently work, and would even let DP's neice (5 asd) live there if it was the right placement (I'm working with adults at the moment) so if you want to PM me with a rough location and we're near enough, I can make some suggestions smile

chinax Tue 31-May-11 23:33:29

Not sure what pfb is but found your comments re parents not being the best to care for their child incredibly scary purple! Sorry but don't know who has led you to believe that! Admitted there are some parents with totally unreasonable expectations and would agree they can be a complete pati even to other parents. However, no carer should ever suggest they are better for a child with loving parents! Asking for a very serious negative reaction!! Parents like us had no choice in the matter and I would be absolutely mortified if anyone remotely suggested they could care for our dd better than us. Give us a specially built house where dd could not harm herself and where we only had to deal with the condition 8 hours per day and not have to work full time too with no respite or family help available believe me no way would anyone else be caring for our daughter!! Very different when you have a child of your own purple and completely different trying to deal with this condition in a home environment with no other help and totally exhausted from days on end with no sleep - incredibly dangerous to all concerned. I always refer to it as the condition as it is not my daughter who is difficult as she has no control over this horrendous affliction.

purplepidjin Wed 01-Jun-11 15:32:36

Sorry, Chinax, that's what I was trying to say - that someone in authority deciding your child would be better off elsewhere must be an awful thing to have to go through. As a carer, I like knowing that parents are keeping an eye on me and that they are happy with the job I am doing. I don't think I really got down in words what I was trying to say, and totally agree with your post!

In an ideal world, each parent would be able to have their home painted neutral colours and secure storage for dangerous objects provided. Then, instead of me going to work at one house each day I would go to a different house and support parents in caring for their child.

I work 12 hour shifts. If parents could do the same (ie with decent night's sleep and a couple of days off a week) then of course they would be the absolute best person. However, I find that I can only deal with the high level of aggression from some residents because I can walk away and not think about if for a day or two. Parents don't have that option - you love your child and think about them constantly, am I right?

Again, apologies for giving the wrong impression

Davros Sun 12-Jun-11 18:55:29

How blood awful. How dare they decide that the bits and pieces you've bought with care don't matter. I think you did the right thing as they sometimes need a right bollocking, you can only be reasonable for so long and if it works for you. If it doesn't then get out the Alex Ferguson hair dryer!
We have got approval for DS's change to 52 week placement and I am very excited as it will give us so much more flexibility to see him more often but for fewer days at a time. In contrast his school keeps encouraging me to get him some individual bits for his room but I am dragging my heels as I've been ill. Bet you can't wait for her to move, not long now and I hope it all goes well and you can suffer through the last part of her current placement.

AllieZ Fri 01-Jul-11 12:33:58

chinax: no carer should ever suggest they are better for a child with loving parents!
I don't usually post here but sorry, chinax, I have found THIS scary. Caring for a SEN child is a profession. I hope you are not suggesting that a loving parent knows best how to take out an appendix, fill a tooth or set a broken arm just because the patient happens to be their own child?! Dealing with Autism, severe learning disabilities etc. is something some people learn about on university level for years and yes, they may know more about it than someone who happened to give birth to an asd/sld child.

And btw, how many NT children have you seen who have been totally and utterly spoilt and damaged by "loving caring parents"? Because I have seen loads, from ones so fat that they have Type II Diabetes at the age of 11; to ones who have been given all the gadgets and gizmos and end up in jail at the age of 13 because only car theft gives them thrill in life.

No, sorry, I don't buy the "parent knows best" stuff. Having children does not equip anyone with any magic skills in any profession, be it medicine, education or childcare.

flyinstar Tue 05-Jul-11 18:32:00

what a load of crap alliez,you are talking through a hole in your****.

colditz Tue 05-Jul-11 18:37:22

Precisely how is allieZ talking through a hole in her arse? Point out to me where she is IN FACT (ie not just youropinion) wrong.

tiredoffightingwithjelly Wed 06-Jul-11 21:47:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chinax Tue 27-Dec-11 22:59:33

Sorry not been on for a while but alliez I have to ask which planet are you on? I am sorry to say my dd has NEVER had a carer who has a specialist university qualification. Basically my experience of where my dd is at present is if they have a crb check and a pulse then they get the job! My dd would never have gone into 52 week residential unless there was any other option. You quite clearly don't have children and have very little or no personal experience of residential placements. Dd 's move to new placement has been delayed for a few months but is due to go ahead early march and I am delighted to say that staff at new centre do seem to have much more experience but theY interestingly agree with most of my comments too and actively encourage parents to spend as much time with dc as possible for a change. Not comparable at all with having dental treatment or an operation which is purely temporary. My dd's conditions are incurable and will be with all of us for life! Your comparisons were somewhat offensive Alliez not just to me but to all mn parents similar to myself.

Bakelitebelle Tue 03-Jan-12 18:38:19

chinax, quite right! How laughable that carers have specialist university qualifications...you are obviously not a carer either, AllieZ. Or if you are, you are in a unit/school/whatever that in no way resembles the rest of the education system or care 'industry'.

In my experience, most SN parents know their children inside out, it is simply the amount of time they are required to spend with a very challenging child, without adequate breaks, with additional sleep deprivation and unsuitable housing, that makes the job impossible for some. Some of the training I have been on, given by professionals, lacks any sort of genuine understanding of the challenges of parenting. The relationship between parent and paid carer should be mutually beneficial in terms of information sharing, as both parties have something to learn from the other

RafflesWay Mon 11-Jun-12 23:18:10

Hi everyone, I was previously chinax but had a name change a few months ago. Promised to update so here goes. Dd finally moved mid April following last minute hitch re health issues but finally all sorted. New unit and school is fantastic! I can't tell you how much happier all 3 of us are and dd has settled with new unit and staff unbelievably well. The old place really showed their true colours on the day dd left there. Manager of new residential house - who is incredibly professional - was staggered at the behaviour displayed to her staff by old place as were SS. So much so that our social services have formally apologized to us as a family for what we have had to suffer and categorically stated they will never place another child at this residential centre ever again! (it was out of our county of course). Dd already showing big improvements and her new key worker is just wonderful! For anyone else considering 52 week residential, again I would definitely recommend but following our experience I would strongly suggest trying to stay in county in a Local authority unit wherever possible. If you have to go out of county then it is much more difficult to monitor but if you feel the staff or management are trying to exclude you as parents then see this as a redlight warning! Good luck everyone and thank you so much for your comments and support, all of which have proved invaluable.

Davros Wed 13-Jun-12 20:26:47

Great to read that all turned out well and you were absolutely right. Funnily enough, my DS's residential school has become somewhat "parent resistant" in the last year, due to a new slimy CEO I think. It is not good but I am trying to make it work. I strongly believe that DS is happy and well cared for, this toe rag just doesn't see any point in keeping parents informed or involved.
So happy to hear your news.

RafflesWay Sun 24-Jun-12 03:00:17

Omg davros - that sounds sooo familiar!! We were the same as previous residential school was very good until new senior management took over.
I know you will keep an eye on this situation but do hope it is not same place.
Is ds placement in the north or south of England at all? If Scotland or wales definitely different school.

Davros Mon 25-Jun-12 19:47:57

I stuck the boot in on the recent Ofsted response, as did lots of other parents. The school is in Berkshire.... ring any bells? I would like to keep him there if possible but won't hesitate to look elsewhere, I need to anyway for 19+

RafflesWay Thu 05-Jul-12 00:01:33

Sorry davros doesn't ring any bells but so pleased you stuck the boot in with ofsted! We have just done exactly the same with old place as ofsted actually contacted us by telephone and then we had the opportunity to meet up with one of their officers. We were also able to sing the praises of new place at the same time! I strongly believe davros if all of us report these things honestly to ofsted then we are doing a real service to other parents and their lovely dc's who deserve nothing but the best! Good luck medear and keep fighting.

JJWMummy Mon 09-Jul-12 21:55:42

Hi Raffles, not posted but have stalked this thread for sometime now. So pleased for you all that everything has settled down now.

Just wanted to point out though, for future reference, that any care establishment can and should be reported to the CQC (Care Quality Commision) should any concerns for a vunerable persons welfare arise.

Ofsted aren't the only resposible body in authority.

Once again, really happy it all worked out well.

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