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Petrified of social services.(125 Posts)
I’m a first time mum to a 6 month old boy, very happily married. I have suffered with depression but not for 5 years, I’ve been doing well, no medication etc managing my health with diet and exercise. During lockdown I’ve had to shield because of a health issue. Therefore I have not left our marital flat for 6 weeks. I had a very sudden, emotional breakdown one evening. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and began scratching at my neck- a self harm action I had used to do but haven’t done for over 5 years. My husband pushed me back on to the bed I was sitting on, pinning my arms down to prevent my attacking myself. He did this gently and with care. He called 999 as he was concerned about me as he’s never seen me in that state of distress- the whole event however lasted only about 1-2 minutes. The police passed this on to social services as they said what he did is domestic violence?! And that as such our son is at significant risk of harm. My husband was preventing me from harming myself and it seems lunacy that he would call 999 if he was perpetrating some form of violence! We have now had social services come to our flat and they are carrying out an assessment under section 47 of the children’s act. I’m reeling from shock and feel the situation is entirely absurd. We have never had the police or an ambulance called to our home before. We love and adore our little boy and wouldn’t harm a hair on his head. I understand self harm is wrong, but it was a coping mechanism used only ever against myself- certainly never anyone else! And it’s certainly not something that is usual for me. The baby has met all milestones, has never had any health issues, and even in the police report they noted he seemed a happy healthy baby and was well kept in appearance. I know this shouldn’t matter but we have a nice home, he has an abundance of toys, he has good clothes, we have a lovely routine each day with lots of play activities and always do what I call ‘big’ activities twice a week- I.e home made edible paint, coloured spaghetti play, jelly play etc. he’s bathed every day, all his solids are carefully prepared looking at iron and vitamin quantities. I’ve done a first aid course for toddlers and babies run by our local hospital, did a baby massage course and we attended a baby class 4 times a week prior to the lockdown (we went to the zoo every Tuesday as we have a pass for there and he loved looking at the giraffes and fish of all things!) he’s read to twice a day, we do nursery rhymes and counting songs with actions and puppets every day (I’m a teacher so education is of course a big thing!) I just would not have placed us in this situation in a million years. We have been told social services can make unannounced visits at any point during the next 45 days whilst the assessment is undertaken. This is horrendous. Every time I make a family meal I have to wash all the dishes used in preparation before I can eat as I’m scared they’ll think I’m not keeping a clean home. Preparing the baby food for the next week today (a lot of vegetable chopping and peeling) was horrible as I had to keep washing and wiping the surfaces every minute I was so worried they’d suddenly appear at the door. After consultation with my doctor I am now going for a daily walk outside, I have also stepped up my contact with my family and friends and my husband has bought me some exercise equipment so I can exercise in the house. I feel back to normal in all ways but not this worry is just overwhelming. Can they take my son away over this? Can we challenge this in any way? I’m so mortified and ashamed by the whole event and having social services involved I don’t feel able to ask anyone openly for advice about the situation. Are they likely to be involved throughout his life now? My husband and I feel so segregated as we can’t talk to anyone about their involvement for embarrassment and shame. If anyone can offer any advice, it would be most gratefully received.
I doubt very much your son will be taken into care or that SS will maintain a lifelong involvement. Like you, their concern is your son. Please don’t let this worry rule your life.
They are under an obligation to come. Surely if you are a teacher you must know a bit about this? Safeguarding and child protection?
No they will not be involved 'throughout his life'..!
Stop being mortified\ashamed etc and just work with them. If everything is in order it should be ok. They are not going to swoop in and remove him from your care.
But sorry your post does mystify me a bit as you must know about child protection a bit from your work?
I know about signs of neglect and abuse. I know how to report these and who to liaise with to put people in touch with help. However, as a school teacher I would not be involved in any way in the assessment process or privy to details of reports. Reports are shared with a member of the senior management team/the safeguarding child protection officer. Whilst we certainly would be informed if a child was on the at risk register for example we are not trained on how families are assessed etc. And we would not read the reports written by social services. We would simply be informed by senior management to be aware of the situation and to monitor that student closely.
Well that is not my experience of teachers and social services far from it. And it hasn't been called the 'at risk' register for a long time.
Please try not to worry too much....it will all be ok in the end. You sound like such a devoted mum x
They will want to come to ensure that your son won’t be exposed to further frightening and violent situations. They aren’t particularly interested in how tidy your house is or what activities you do at this stage.
They are concerned that your son is being cared for by a parent who is self harming and isn’t managing their mental health needs to the point the police were called and that your husband physically restrained you. This places your son at risk of emotional harm.
SS will want to check that you have the corrrct support in place to manage your emotions and that this situation will not occur again
Meant to add that you have no need to worry you just need to plan for this situation in the future to ensure that it doesn’t get to this point and that your son is not exposed to it. Ss are not going to remove your child
We had a,referral ( from the police) to social services after my dh was accused of being vio!ent to a family member and police were called ( he wasent I was there) but they were lovely a social worker came to talk to us and check the house We had just moved in so no carpets etc but all she was concerned abouts that it was basically clean and we had food and bedding etc she did speak to.both schools ,my youngest is at a special school and non verbal but she was happy with their reports and she spoke to my oldest but then closed the case
They aren't going to take your little boy away.
They have a duty to investigate what the police said, but when it becomes obvious - as it will - that your son is safe and well, there will be no question of taking him into care.
You sound (understandably) up a height, but please try to keep a sense of proportion. No SW will give a monkey's about a few unwashed dishes. They are people too.
You're obviously very articulate and you're able to explain what happened, why, and a number of different strategies you've already used to reduce the chance of a repeat. I know this is very easy for me to say, but I don't think you have anything to worry about.
When I think about people worrying about SS I always think about the awful cases where SS missed opportunities to save abused or neglected children (bare with me), in order to avoid missing a single one of these cases SS must attend in hundreds if not thousands of cases where they are not needed. Your case will be one of these. Don't stress OP, just live your life normally and speak openly and honestly with them x
Try not to take it personally: they don't know you from Adam. You are clearly very caring but they have certain protocols and procedures to follow. Just ask them what to eclecticism now. Hope you're ok.
My dear you must calm down
I Also had An SS investigation last year
I called women’s aid and they referred me
I know it’s the most stressful thing EVER
But they have to check you after what happened .
Just breathe . They will come , have a chat and maybe they can sign post services you wouldn’t be aware of
The irony is this is making your MH understandably worse
They are not wanting to take your baby
They do however have to check
Stop cleaning the house and focus on calming yourself down
Neglect and abuse is well obvious to an experienced social worker and a few dirty dishes is not that . Come on , you know this
Sending lots of empathy , it was one of the most stressful thing but actually - it helped me and we eventually split up
You had an emotional breakdown as give said, surely as a teacher this is basic procedure?
I am a social worker. I feel a full assessment is not warranted at this time based on the information you provide. An assessment stays on file for a long time and I feel it's not proportionate to the referral.
A simple chat with you and your husband to establish the incident and a discussion with your health visitor to check for concerns and to get them to link in with you should suffice. This is definitely not child protection at this stage therefore you can decline an assessment if you want and advise the social worker that you will link in with the health visitor an Gp for support.
If you feel like you need more support then do reach out but it seems like maybe you weren't communicating this to you it husband either and so now he is aware and can help you as best he can. I'm going to go against the grain here and say if you feel like meeting up with your mum/sister or friend for a walk outside and chat each week or few days then do it.
Social services will not removed your baby. Please ensure that you discuss this with your dh to be open about your feelings especially if you feel overwhelmed with the baby
Try to calm down. I know it's hard but they aren't going to take him away. They have a duty of care and it's obvious from your post you are a good mum and devoted family.
Live your life as normal. You weren't doing anything wrong before this? So they aren't going to see anything that will give them cause for concern. Once they see all is well it will be case closed.
And please talk to your GP. Just in case this impacts your MH. Take care, all will be well.
Whilst working in the community as a school nurse, the conferences held always had teachers involved and not always just the safeguarding liaison, it was generally the actual teacher of the child. Are you actually a TA?
Go with it OP. Extra support is not necessarily a bad thing.
I'm surprised at the police and the suggestion of DV in this instance. Perhaps they felt that they were not getting the truth at the time and need SS to check that you are OK and not being abused?
It sounds from what you've said it's a welfare check for you, not your DS.
Whatever the cause or details of what happened, a horrible, frightening, aggressive incident happened between you and you have a small baby who could have been exposed to this. Social services are assessing to find out what happened not to take any action but they are obliged to do so.
They aren't going to take your baby away if things are as you've described them. They will want to know you are safe and mentally ok and that your husband isn't abusive or violent.
Yeah you dont need to worry about clean dishes.
You do need to talk yourself down from this though. You are not a victim, you are not going to get softer treatment/understanding by being distressed or very wound up - the SW will want to see you behaving like a calm, responsible adult should while in charge of a child. They have to keep you on the radar - you started harming yourself to the extent that your dh called 999, apparently without warning, that is a terrifying thing when there is a baby involved. Maybe they dont understand exactly what happened in the home, but they do know that you need support during what sounds a stressful time. So they may check on you.
They haven't done anything wrong and they arent behaving unreasonably. You do need to cool down and take stock a little bit here.
Put your pride and shame aside, consider how you can manage your emotions better, take better care of yourself, take it easy. Obsessing over cleaning is not wise, cleanliness doesn't mean much when it comes to whether a baby is safe really, that isnt their main concern.
Dont try to "challenge" anything - to even consider doing this would be a massive red flag from the pov of a social worker. Calm down, take care of yourself, and follow any instructions/advice from the SW.
dollymoo are you really a social worker? How can you make a judgement call based on the OP's post?
Unfortunately OP many parents lie to social work or minimise what has happened after the event. No one can know if that is the case from your post. I'm sure that your SW will want to try and find out if what you say in your OP is true or if in fact something more nefarious happened. Remember that the Police will have access to the 999 call so if something else was going on other than what you describe, they will know that you are lying.
SW don't want to remove your child, it's actually really hard for them to do that and they would need to go to the courts to obtain a legal order, they can't just do that without just cause.
SW will not be interested in a few dishes in the sink, they just want to know you are safe. Work on your mental health and be open and honest with them and if there is more going on than what you are disclosing here, then I think it's time for you to be honest with them and with yourself in the best interests of your child.
Op, they think your injuries were not self inflicted but your husband did them to you, is this what you’re saying?
It’s unlikely he would be accused of domestic violence for restraining you gently, how would they even know he did that. If it only lasted one to two mins? Why did he dial 999 if it was only a couple of mins?
It does not make a lot of sense, did he hurt you? Social services have already been to your flat once. They will come back as they feel your son is either suffering from or at a high risk of suffering from signicant harm, that’s what a section 47 assessment is right?
I think you need to comply with social services and you need to be honest with them, if your husband is hurting you and your child is at risk it won’t stop here, he will do it again. And if he does, then yes, you may loose your child at that point if they think you lied to protect your husband,
Dolly moo, I hope you’re not a social worker because you’ve not even read the op correctly clearly. They have already been to her flat. And have decided a section 47 assessment is warranted they think the child is at signifant risk of harm.
It’s standard procedure that when police are called to any situation like the one you found yourself in, and a child is somehow involved, a report will be written, which automatically refers that child to SS. The police haven’t necessarily written that report because they genuinely feel your son is at risk. They have written that report because if they didn’t, their jobs would be at risk. It’s just basic policing. Don’t get yourself in a state. Unless your post is full of lies and your son is actually at risk, then SS will conduct and conclude a quick investigation. People tend to think so negatively about involvement from SS, but they are able to provide so much help to people who need it. If you’re struggling with you mental health, they may be able to offer you some really helpful options. Best of luck. And calm down. Your baby isn’t going anywhere.
If everything you said in your OP is true, and no significant omissions, your baby will definitely not be removed from your care. Social services have a very, very high threshold for removing children (probably even more so under the current circumstances).
As a teacher I can completely back up.the OPs lack of involvement in the safeguarding ladder.
Probably secondary. I've been teaching 27 years and have never been involved past any cause for concern notifications I may have made. It's a SMT matter. On a need to know basis and bottom of the rung teachers don't get to know.. Never/ rarely been given feedback. Its unprofessional to pry. Several different schools.
Wishing you well OP. Try not to panic. Reach out to your family.
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