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The HowMessy update(4 Posts)
I thought I should update how things are at the moment. I did ask MN to delete the thread and they said they would if I said so on there first but it wasn't posted on for a few days and I decided to leave it.
Firstly I want to say don't read my posting style as any reflection on me and what I'm doing, I'm not usually the sort to talk about problems and I also know that I can get angry easily so I try to keep myself at a point where I won't get angry because I do lose it when I do and I've gone years without flipping and I don't want to do that now.
Secondly, there are MNers who know my story, I'm not going to lie to you or exaggerate, I'd rather not ask people to come and defend me but if I really must I will.
The initial referral as I said before came from my mum. Since things have been getting difficult we've talked about it and she said she never meant for any of this. She was concerned that with the support a local organisation was giving being withdrawn and me finding out I was pregnant I would struggle to cope and hoped that they'd be able to continue that help. The referral should have been dealt with in 2 weeks and it took 4 months. Found out from Mum translating codes that he'd closed the case to allow himself the extra time! He has been out to see us about 5 times in that time, he would ring Mum on a regular basis to see if she'd been out and we think was recording it as a visit. Mum had to tell him at one point how inappropriate it was to text her and ask to do a joint visit!
There's been a lot of dishonesty going on from the SW. He's told me that Mum told me things that just aren't true and she's denied saying (and I believe her because she doesn't have a need to lie about it) like when my youngest had a chest infection and I called an ambulance, he said that she told me 24 hours before to call them and had had to insist eventually that I do it. Actually I hailed a cab after picking my eldest up from school as I could hear baby wasn't well, within about 15 minutes of getting home she had curled up on my shoulder and was using her whole body to breathe. I called my dad who would have just been leaving work to ask him to take me to hospital, he said he couldn't because he had an appointment, I called Mum and she said it would take her awhile to get to me and said to call the GP. Surgery said call an ambulance. Ambulance arrived 45 minutes after she had first climbed on my lap. He asked me about why I hadn't got her seen before and I said she wasn't ill before, she'd had a runny nose that week but was still eating normally and seemed happy, even that day she had eaten loads, although by then had bit of a smokers cough.
We had the meeting last week, only got the report at 7:30 on the night which he pushed through the door, knocked the door and tried to run. My OH got there before he could as he was already up. We spent the next 4 hours going through it on our own (he should have gone through it with us) attacking it with a highlighter, ringing Mum occasionally to check if things had been said that she was supposed to have. It makes quite disturbing reading TBH, whether or not you know the situation. There are things in there like we have a good range of age appropriate toys and educational toys but he doesn't know if we play with the children with them, which he has put is proof of emotional abuse. It's guesswork because a. it's not true and b. no one would claim it is which Mum stood up for me at the meeting on. He's also said that I don't believe in bathing children so clean them with flannels... I don't even own any flannels I think, we tend to use sponges and puffs and there's no way my kids would let me get away with not bathing them! But then this is the same man stood in my bathroom said "Don't you have toothbrushes for your children?" to which my answer was "What do you think those are on the sink?" or told me that the reason my children have constipation issues (family trait - their dad, nan and great-nan all suffer exactly the same way) is because I don't give them enough bananas (yes really!) and other fruit. I got my eldest to show him where we keep the fruit - two ram packed draws in the fridge! He had been through the fridge but missed them.
The chair at the meeting was so horrible that both Mum (who is a SW) and our new SW said they haven't met anyone like her before, new SW said he hopes he never has to again! Mum told her old boss who is a family friend what went on and he was shocked. She had decided before we got there that we should have had the children removed by now and directed the professionals to agree. The children are now living with my parents, we have no restrictions other than we can't bring them home. We were not allowed to defend ourselves in anything, I called out lies and was told that I must not call the social worker a liar (who had called in sick BTW) he was just writing down what he had found and could have been told things by other people, I told her I would call him a liar when he said that I've said things I haven't - even my mum wasn't allowed to defend me or herself. This has been used against me as proof I minimise the effect of my parenting. We have been told we need to get legal advice by February or they will - both Mum and SW said that this is ridiculous because it's too soon to be talking like that. There's a chance we can get the children back before the next meeting in February if we do what we're told and SW is happy with us.
They're trying to say my eldest's health is due to the house, she has chronic brittle asthma and constipation. She was an unexpected premature baby, was then intubated and that led to several infections over her first two years. Her last attack was over 4 years ago, they found out then her lungs are badly scars from everything she's been through and they put her on heavy asthma drugs which has kept her well. This year she had quite a heavy tummy bug that went through all sides of my family followed by pneumonia and was left with CFS so she missed most of half a term. Her paediatrician just happens to be the lead safeguarding paediatrician and he is happy with her health (as in doesn't blame anything for it) and said she is receiving appropriate treatment - but the chair doesn't agree and said she's never met a child as sick as her. He wasn't at the meeting though, I get the impression he wasn't invited. It's been recorded the only reason she has 100% attendance so far this year is because we've been under pressure (nothing to do with her getting over the worst of the CFS) to send her - our parents are also the reason they go to school clean, apparently. Our other two children who are generally pretty healthy and both only been ill 2-3 times in their lives, we've been told are also unhealthy - despite the HV already stating that they are healthy. We've had SOGS done on them yesterday which came out mostly at or above normal for their age, our 3yo was coming out at 5 years for most of it apart from locomotion and speech which they're happy about because she's hypermobile from IUGR and seen a rhuematologist about, she's also had a SALT assessment last week.
Everyone who knows the children has said that they are happy confident children, very secure and love each other. Mum says I'm a brilliant mum, I do a lot with them/ for them and give them a lot of opportunities. She's repeatedly told them she has no concerns about my parenting, just my housekeeping.
I'm aware I've already written an essay and there's so much more! Coming from a family with two people working for SS and having friends who do I would have always defended them. Mum is a fantastic SW and received awards for her work, I think I'm starting to realise that she really is just a good one. I'm currently 28 weeks pregnant, been having constant contractions for about 8 weeks and taking a trial drug to try and stop it. I've been told that the stress will be making me contract like I am, the hospital are OK about it at the moment because it's not causing changes but I am in a lot of pain and exhausted from it. I've got 6 weeks on my usual gestation but with all this and baby is measuring big I don't see me lasting more than 4 weeks now.
Oh last point, Mum told a solicitor friend who defends parents and was told that it's very likely they're going to try to take the children into care in February and even if they don't with the three we already have, they could try with the baby - plan is for baby to go to my parents if the children aren't home yet. She said the only way around this is to get a private order that will put them into my parents care temporarily as SS would have to explain to a judge why it is better to break that order than to leave them with my parents.
Just in case any of you do any of this, you might want to watch out... Baby Led Weaning, allowing a 6 year old to play in their bedroom without supervision, allowing them to play without joining in, ever using the local chippie etc (we're not regulars, probably 1-2 times a month total and they only go to McDs if someone else takes them), letting them stay at grandparents occasionally (even if you do need a babysitter to go to the hospital for an early appointment)...
It's a bit of a turn around from your last thread isn't it? Previously your Mum was the issue, but now she is defending you against an incompetent social worker. At the end of your last thread your children had been returned, hadn't they?
I've read your previous thread. The thing is, you might relate to your children brilliantly and do things with them but I notice your descriptions of the concern the SWs express have never been very clear.
There is obviously more to this "housekeeping" criticism than you are explaining, despite the length of your post. I'm not sure it's about the state of your house as much as chronic lack of organisation and routine. It does seem to be having a serious effect on your childrens' health and school attendance - and therefore their development, so it's no great surprise that if nothing has improved in that regard, SS will continue to be concerned.
The bottom line is what do SS actually expect of you, and will you ever be able to meet those expectations? What reasons do they give for deciding your other children are unhealthy if, as you and the HV say, they have no apparent health issues? Concern over a child's health is not necessarily about physical illnesses or clinical conditions, it sounds like they are concerned about their general health and well-being.
How do you know your child's ill health is not due to her home environment, if it has never been any different? The fact that the other two are not suffering the same illnesses isn't really relevant.
It certainly doesn't sound as though your children could be described as "thriving". That is a basic, reasonable expectation - especially if you are about to have a fourth, when there is evidently a great deal of concern that you are not coping with three.
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