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to consider speaking to social services, due to concerns for a friend and her DD?

(226 Posts)
reallydontknowwhattodo Sat 24-Sep-11 21:58:49

I sound totally shit just from the title of this, I know. I don't feel good about even considering it, but I have genuine and serious concerns for the wellbeing of the one-year-old DD of a friend.

First of all, I want to make clear that I have tried everything I consider to be within my power to help this situation myself. I have spent God only knows how many hours trying to cajole my friend into getting help and changing things for her DD, but nothing works. Nothing ever changes for more than a day or so.

She, her DD, and her DD's father live in a house that is (to put it nicely) a great big shithole. The place is absolutely caked in dirt and animal waste, and is rarely, if at all, cleaned. I have tried in the past to clean it myself, but it needs a specialist in there and despite encouragement from several people to hire someone, they never have. This is not a money issue, they could afford to have a proper clean done.

Both mum and dad have terrible personal hygiene. They don't seem at all bothered by this, and my friend seemed to find it amusing that she had worn the same pair of jeans for four months without washing them. They reeked. The DD is always in dirty clothes, always smells bad and is left in dirty nappies way longer than she should be.

I'm afraid to say though, the above is the tip of the iceberg. The DD is rarely cuddled, her dad has very little to do with the care of her, so my friend is for all intents and purposes a single mum, and she has little patience with her DD. She snaps at her, swears at her, and will leave her crying for a long time. She has very irregular mealtimes, and is fed a poor diet. My friend regularly has outbursts relating to threatening suicide and although I don't believe she would ever actually do it, I worry about the mind of someone who would actually threaten this anyway.

I know the above sounds horrible and I feel awful and bad myself that I can't figure out how to help my friend without the assistance of SS, but I'm scared that if I don't, the LO will continue to live how she has for her first year. My friend does not see a HV, and there is no family who are suitable to help them (or in fact to approach about this), as they are either very far away or in the case of the paternal GPs, elderly and disabled (in a way that makes CC impossible).

So AIBU to actually approach SS now? I don't know what else to do.

reallydontknowwhattodo Sat 24-Sep-11 21:59:24

P.S. Have namechanged, but have been here for a while now.

FabbyChic Sat 24-Sep-11 22:00:43

I'd have no hesitation in ringing SS. The child always takes priority and comes first.

OpenMouthInsertFoot Sat 24-Sep-11 22:01:01

I think it would be irresponsible of you not to. They clearly need some help.

AtYourCervix Sat 24-Sep-11 22:01:17

yes. do it now.

pigletmania Sat 24-Sep-11 22:02:20

I would phone the NSPCC for advice, the situation sounds like neglect to me.

onepieceofcremeegg Sat 24-Sep-11 22:02:30

If things truly are that bad, then I am shocked that you haven't rung Social Services before now.

nancy75 Sat 24-Sep-11 22:02:41

I think you would be doing the right thing if you contacted them.
Imagine how terrible it would be and you would feel if something happened and you didn't inform them

Rebecca41 Sat 24-Sep-11 22:02:50

Absolutely definitely ring SS

onepieceofcremeegg Sat 24-Sep-11 22:03:24

If you do it now (which has to be your decision) you will need the Emergency Duty Team. They may well ask you why it has suddenly become urgent/an emergency if you have known about this situation for such a long time.

Flyonthewindscreen Sat 24-Sep-11 22:04:18

YANBU. How would you live with yourself if this child came to harm (she probably already is coming to harm) and you knew the conditions she was living in but had not told SS?

reallydontknowwhattodo Sat 24-Sep-11 22:04:48

onepiece, I haven't called them before now because I've been trying to help them without involving SS.

I feel shit about this, but it feels like I have no options now.

Thanks for replies.

griphook Sat 24-Sep-11 22:05:09

please ring them now, it sounds like a awful situation for a child to be in. I work with children in need, and there are some children out there in terrible circumstances, but the bigger worry is the ones we don't know about.

You can do it annoymously, but please call.

ladyintheradiator Sat 24-Sep-11 22:05:20

If you're not exaggerating why haven't you already phoned them? I find it shocking that you would have to ask tbh.

Skippyboo Sat 24-Sep-11 22:05:33

That poor child! This definitely sounds like neglect and your friend needs a huge kick up the arse because, quite frankly, she sounds like she doesn't give a shit.

Call SS and tell them everything.

Flyonthewindscreen Sat 24-Sep-11 22:06:07

If the OP was asked why she hadn't contacted SS before, surely she could say because she had been trying to persuade her friend to do things differently?

NessaRose Sat 24-Sep-11 22:06:26

Phone the SS. So sad for the lo.
Hopefully the parents will get the help they need.

Re the suicide threats do you think that the mum may have pnd?

griphook Sat 24-Sep-11 22:06:50

Don't feel shit about it, sometimes it a relief for the parents aswell, as it means they should get some support, (not knocking your support)

babylily Sat 24-Sep-11 22:07:28

Please contact SS asap. I work with vulnerable children and their families and this is a situation where it is entirely appropriate for professionals to be involved. The family will not need to know that you have made the initial referral, and social work involvement will ensure the family start to access the services and support they clearly need.

123caughtaflea Sat 24-Sep-11 22:08:16

Every adult has a duty of care towards children with whom they come into contact. Therefore if you truly believe the child is at risk (and if it's as you describe, then this child is most definitely at risk), the you must get in touch with SS.

I have done this re a friend and his son. I had concerns re neglect compounded by (adult) mental health issues. I decided that if I contacted SS the worst that would happen was that I would lose a friend under unpleasant circumstances (I do have enough professional knowledge of SS that I have faith a child will not be snatched away in the dead of night etc etc, rather that SS will try very hard to support a family). If I did not contact SS, the worst that could happen would be the death or serious injury of one or both of them. Of the two I'd rather live with the loss of a friendship as long as I know that it happened because I genuinely was trying to get help for them rather than through maliciousness.

In fact SS referred the family to appropriate support, respected the need to keep my referral confidential and things look better now. Result!

I wish you well with this difficult situation.

reallydontknowwhattodo Sat 24-Sep-11 22:08:25

I'm not exaggerating, I know it sounds bad, it is bad. I really thought I could help without having SS involved, because despite what I've written, I know it would devastate my friend to lose her DD. While I completely and wholeheartedly accept that there is neglect, it is not willful neglect, ie they are not doing it because they are actively trying to mistreat the DD.

It's very hard to feel this way about someone I consider a friend.

onepieceofcremeegg Sat 24-Sep-11 22:08:39

I understand that Kamer, it's just that the service available at the weekend (i.e. the Emergency Duty Team) may enquire why she has suddenly decided to ring on a Saturday night.

Has something changed since yesterday op?

It's an awful situation by the sound of it, I understand that the OP has been trying to help/persuade the friend, but this situation has been ongoing for months if I understand this correctly.

LittleWhiteWolf Sat 24-Sep-11 22:08:57

Look at it like this OP: you've exhausted your means of help and assistance. SS re there to provide the means to help and educate in a professional capcity. You've done you're best and there's no shame in admitting you aren't getting anywhere fast.

Don't beat yourself up, but do give your friend (more importantly her DD) the chance to get help.

PurpleHat Sat 24-Sep-11 22:10:29

You have done your best, and all credit to you for that, but it's not actually your responsibility to sort this family out. I don't mean that as a criticism to you, but sometimes people need to hear that it's okay to let go and hand a situation over to a professional.
Calling SS would definitely be the right and best thing to do for this little girl.

Good luck x

FabbyChic Sat 24-Sep-11 22:11:15

Don't feel shit about it, if you do nothing the situation escalates how will you feel when that child is hospitalised due to an infection caused by such a dirty home.

Take pity on that child and do your duty.

The parents care not, they know they smell, they know they live in a shit hole yet the choose to, that child did not choose to be brought into this world or have such uncaring and bad parents.

Do something and make it fast.

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