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I have been approved a year and am very very fed up(45 Posts)
Have namechanged - I'm not even sure why, I'm not well known at all!
I was approved at panel a year ago today, for 2 siblings aged 2-6. I am still waiting. Everywhere you look, all the adoption info is all about how the desperate need is for adopters for older children and sibling groups. Yet everyone I've met through prep etc wanting a baby was placed almost immediately, and here I am.
My SW is useless. I have to chase her all the time, about everything. I had to ask her 3 times to refer me to the national register, she eventually managed it. I went to an exchange day several months ago -which incidentally my SW said she would make me flyers for, but 'forgot' - and came back with a huge stack of profiles, as you can imagine given that I'm looking for older and sibs. Several SWs showed interest in me, but it all stops when it gets to my SW. I feel like she is keeping me on the back burner for when they have sibs inhouse they can't match. My SW has even told me before now she's had SWs email about me, but she hasn't read their emails! Occasionally she sends me children's profiles from other SWs, but when I say I'm interested, nothing happens.
I always email with her, as I can't phone when I'm at work and there's no answerphone to leave a message out of hours. I've emailed her so many times asking for a review meeting, for an update, for any info on what is happening. She doesn't reply to my emails. I tried raising my concerns with the team manager when I went to a regional exchange day - she told me no SW will ever choose a single adopter over a couple, so I should be lowering my sights to harder to place children. Finding children I'm interested in is not the problem, there are loads, some even with SWs who are interested in me, the problem is my SW does nothing about it! I felt like she was blaming me being single for my lack of progress - if they didn't want to place with a single adopter, why did they ever take me on?!
I wish wish wish I'd gone with a VA now - at least they'd want to find me a match. There seems to be no impetus whatsoever to match me. I've tried going round my SW as much as I can, by emailing other SWs my flyer directly when I see profiles I'm interested in, but then apparently they have to send info to my SW, so nothing comes of it.
I feel really angry, and sad, and frustrated, and trapped. If I'm approved by a team who have no placement for me, managed by a manager who seems to have no great opinion of single adopters, and with a SW who either can't or won't get it together to find me a match from another LA, I might as well not be approved at all.
GingerJulep it's not that there's not a phone or anything, just that there's no privacy. So I can't make the kind of call I need to have with SW. When I have children (eeek!) I will of course be able to take phone calls of the 'your child is sick/kicking off/whatever, you need to come and get them' variety, that's not confidential. I just can't have a sensitive and possibly lengthy conversation with SW when at any moment a hoard of clients might come into the room.
Thanks everyone for your help - hopefully in a couple of months this username will not apply!
What Italiangreyhound said!
Some organisations/individuals respond better to one form of contact that another so it can really help to be flexible.
Once you have two young children you'll need to be able to take calls in the day anyway. Have you thought about how you'll be able to do that? Would it be a question of changing jobs?
If so perhaps something to start getting sorted now before you have delightful little distractions?
Fantastic news -
It'll be an agonising wait but so worth it.
That's great news. Will keep my fingers crossed for you!!!
Update - I had the home visit from the children's SW, my SW and the family finder and they like me BUT the children do not yet have a placement order. So a bit more waiting! But now I'm waiting for these children, and not just waiting on hopeless SW, so it's definitely better!
They are not looking at anyone else for these children, so as long as the placement order is granted - trying not to count my chickens and I know unexpected things happen but at the care order hearing the judge directed SWs to look for a family for them so I am hopeful - we will be going to matching panel. So it's a bit more uncertainty but hopefully we will get there in the next few months! Thank you everyone for your support.
very all best wishes. Hope it goes well.
Just seen this - fingers crossed for you
I work in the adoption field. E mail the local authority complaints e mail address (on their website) and state the facts you have stated on here. People like your se piss me off and give everyone else a bad name. She's getting paid a wage and has a job to do and explain explicitly that you have an audit trail (your e mails and this terminology makes them move their arse) to evidence she is not communicating with you.
Good luck! X
Update - my review meeting was cancelled yesterday. Happily, this is because I am being considered for a match! I am waiting to hear from the family finder, as it's a bank holiday weekend realistically it'll probably be middle of next week I know. Still, it finally feels like a bit of progress!
Glad to hear you re finally seeing some interest from other SWs
Do let us know how your enquiries go
Hi Italian no it's not a rude question. I technically have a lunchbreak, in that for half an hour a day I'm not getting paid, but in reality I work in a drop-in which is open over lunch and we are not allowed to leave the centre while it's open. So it's really tricky because I could start a call and get interrupted at any moment.
I have spoken to my SW from work - I'd emailed her from my work email and she'd used the phone number from my email signature to ring me, I nearly fell off my chair to pick up the phone I share with 5 nosey colleagues who know nothing about my adoption plans to find her on the other end, thank god I answered it and not someone else! I emailed her and copied the team leader in saying I have no privacy at work and to be fair she's not done that again. So I don't want her to think it's okay to ring me while I'm at work, even on my mobile, I'd be on tenterhooks all the time I think because when she wants something from me, she's not shy in asking more than once a day - it's only the other way round things go very slowly! Thanks for the suggestion though.
Stay sane Very, it's coming together!
Can I ask and this seems a very rude questions but you mentioned not being able to phone from work? Do you have a mobile and lunch break, could ringing during the day make a difference and could it be possible to take your lunch break off site occasionally to allow you to speak to your social worker during the day. I know it hard. I work in an open plan office and have had all kinds of off calls including devastating fertility news from my mobile in a deserted conference hall and conversations about children to adopt in my bosses kitchen (all without my work colleagues knowing what I am talking about - I hope!). Some work spaces may be a phone free zone so I am lucky my work place is very open about people calling during working hours. But even if they were not I do get lunch breaks when I can leave the building. Is it possible this might work for you or would it just add to your stress at work?
All best wishes.
On the upside, I went to a big exchange event last week and at the weekend emailed 12 SWs about sibling pairs. I've had 6 replies so far, which I think is really good going especially in a bank holiday week. I know that's still a long way from anything concrete but it's something.
Although I fear the one who replied that she will only converse with me via my SW won't get a reply from her, at least there are SWs who show an interest in me which can only be a good thing, especially to have leads to ask for updates about at my review meeting. If there are children's SWs interested in me, at least that's potentially more than just me trying to move things forward.
Incidentally, there is so much variation in what different teams/SWs are happy to do. The replies I've had range from SW saying she will only answer questions about the children if I ask my SW to ask on my behalf, to SW who messaged me CPRs straight away without even copying my SW in. It's a confusing thing.
What a difficult position you are in and I understand your anxiety about complaining. I think the Review Mtg is a good idea. You could ask if a Team Leader could attend too so that you've got some back up. We are at the mercy of our SWs competency. SWs are incredibly overworked and stressed and it sounds like this SWs supervision might also be an issue. I would be tempted to copy the Team Leader in in all correspondence. Out of county placements cost your LA so they will often avoid doing this. Keep talking to BAAF or Adoption UK for advice. A phone call would probably serve you better if you're able because you can get your point across. Good luck. Hope you get somewhere soon.
I'm so sorry , I wish I could give you a more positive message .
FWIW I used to run the complaints service for a very large public sector organisation so theoretically i am all for service users being able to exercise their right to complain.
we had very little problem of victimisation of complainants. But it wasn't Social services , let alone adoption. It's too small and there is too much discretion given to individuals who are generally very poorly trained and inexperienced. And the system is not designed to cope with any kind of feedback from clients -it's stuck in some 1930s time warp of the deserving and the undeserving .
I realise that this is a sweeping generalisation and I'm sure there are examples of good practice out there. I'm just not convinced that your agency is one of them, given what you've said so far
KristinaM you have hit the nail on the head - that is exactly what I am worried about.
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