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Need advice re: social services(3 Posts)
Hi, this is going to be a bit long winded but please bear with me.
Im a sngle parent of 3 children , m16, f12, m7. Youngest has High functioning autism. I have a 4th child (m14) who ive not seen in 6yrs due to him having medical issues which Social Services and his school refused to acknowledge against GP and 2 paediatricians advice and findings. He attempted to stab his older brother and family friends child which brought everything to a head and i requested a section 20 accomodation. He was placed in foster care and I ended up attempting to fight a Full Care Order which I lost. He was placed in long term foster care and it was then deemd i was undermining him settling in the placement because he kept getting upset and demanding i take him home, I was told to stay away and then received a letter stating that i was to have no continued contact with my son. Ii'll be honest, I gave up. I had battled the system since he was 2 and was close to breaking point which wouldve risked my 3 other children, of whom SS had zero concerns about during all the proceedings or after.
Speed forward to the present. This time last year my eldest started feeling down and not eating properly, sleeping all the time. I took him to the GP who ran blood tests, he was borderling anemic and given iron supplements and a referral to CAMHS. Two months later, still nothing from CAMHS despite my GP chasing them, my son attempted to cut his wrists. Through the hospital we were able to get an assessment with CAMHS and he was offered a therapist. Over the last 9 months my sons school attendance has gradually dropped to the point of where im lucky if i can get him to go in once a week, his counsellor has been pretty much useless just focusing on what my son wears and his supposed lack of friends and not probing as to why my son feels so low the majority of time.
In February my son assaulted me and I called the Police, they arrested him and between me, the police and the mental health nurse who assessed him upon arriving at the station, it was decided a Youth Offending referral would be better than a charge. His solicitor advised him incorrectly (whole other story) and CPS decided to prosecute, I withdrew my statement and no further action was taken.
Beginning of March my son assaulted me again, this time was a lot worse andhe clearly was not on this planet so i called for an ambulance, the police arrived instead. Mmy son was arrested and charged but the DCI involved went with offering a YOT referral which my son accepted and he was bailed home.
Almost 2 weeks later I received a phone call from a social worker, apparently the police had sent a report to them. The s/w asked to make an appointment to see me which I agreed to as i didnt want to be seen as 'not engaging' and bringing more trouble on our heads. A hour before the appointment she called and asked to change the day due to paperwork she had to deal with, the appointment was booked for 2 weeks later.
A hour before the appointment last friday she asked if she could come 1 and 1/2 hrs later due to an emergency, I agreed as i know these things happen but then she still arrived over 45 minutes late with no phone call and not even an apology. She then tells me that shes here to assess our family in case we need additional support, I told her we dont need any considering we have CAMHS, YOT, a young persons practitoner for my eldest and intevention support therapy for my 2 youngest. All schools are extremely supportive and understanding and our GP is a diamond! I also have family and a fairly large supportive network of friends. She kept banging on about how SS have access to other services and resources so after half a hour of listening to her go on I agreed to the assessment, I wish I hadnt.
We ran through the basics of whats been going on etc and at the end she said that shed need to talk to the children but her ultimate decision would be a section 17 CIN for my eldest due to his previous suicide attempts even though they had not occured in months! I agreed to let her speak to the children, an appointment was made for them to be seen Tuesday just past.
I was concerned about her speaking alone to my youngest due to his autism and his lack of understanding so spoke to his school, they said theyd happily have the s/w there to talk to my son and his teacher would be there to support them both.
On Tuesday the sw arrived late again, no apology and basically got right down to business. I asked her if she could talk with my youngest at school instead of there and then as i was concerned that he would not be able to remain focused and be more of a hinderance in regards to her questions, I stated that the school would make themselves available to her timetable. I do a lot of volunteering at the school so they always try to repay that, plus they have a bit of a soft spot for my youngest.
The sw agreed, I left the room and she proceeded to ask them what she needed to. After a while I had to enter the room to get something and I overheard her directly address my son and ask him questions :
SW: XXX What makes you happy about your family?
XXX: My gym ball
SW: XXX What makes you unhappy about your family?
As you can see, his replies werent exactly what she was wanting lol. I stood in the doorway and asked her ' i thought you were going to talk to him at school?', she replied that schools take forever to arrange staff and rooms and shes on a timeline but after talking to my children she has no concerns and there wont be any further action. She then addressed my children and told them not to worry anymore they (SS) wouldnt be coming back because there was no reason to.
She left and told me her report would be in the post.
Today she called me, she apparently had a meeting with her manager and they now have concerns about how I'm coping so the assessment is going to continue!! I told her straight that while things have been tough we're over the worst and I dont feel that I require any further support from outside my network, tough times are part of the parenting job. She then started going on about my other son who is in foster care and they need to check that hes doing well, i stated that i couldnt see the connection as i've not been able to have contact in years so althoughh id love to know how he is and if hes ok im unclear as to how that affects my 'coping'.
I've probably made a huge rod for my back because I've told her now that as I've cooperated so far, got all these supports and interventions for my children on my own, been told no further action and now this I'm now deciding to no longer engage with Social Services. I told her I have enough to do with attending appointments with my eldest, my daughter is picking her GCSE options and my youngest demands a lot of my time on top of working to keep a roof over our head and food and clothes for the children to be attending yet more appointments with Social Services for no reason, if they are worried about me coping how is putting additional pressure on me going to help? She said shed pass on this info to her manager and get back to me. I called the complaints line and made a complaint about the messing about over appointments, lateness, talking to my son after agreeing not to, stating she was going for a section 17 and then no further action to me AND the kids and now the assessment is continuing whether i like it or not.
I've given consent for schools, GP, CAMHS, YPP, YOT and hospital, I'm not concerned because my kids arent always at the docs, no hospital visits (only eldest suicide attempts) and apart from my eldest ( being addressed with YPP) the school attendance is perfect, CAMHS is fully supportive of me too.
I just want to get back to normal, supporting my family and now my eldest is flipping out because he blames himself for Social Services involvement and is worried they'll be taken away.
So, after that huge essay, whats the likely outcome? I dont believe they have enough grounds for a CIN and most definitely dont have enough for a CPP but who knows, they write their own rule book half the time (my apologies to any SW reading this, I know you're not all bad!).
Thanks in advance
It's a difficult one.
Social workers generally respect doctors, so make your GP and or child psychiatrist prominent.
Ask CAMHS if they run any parenting courses you could go on.
(I know, I know, I know)
Generally it's better not to stop engaging with them.
Just record everything and get them to write down agreed treatment plans.
Tell them you very much want an update about your son,
Explore whether it would be in his interests for you to have contact again.
I wouldn't worry, she dojbds over loaded and will want your case closed ASAP. My boyfriend used to be a social worker and was under massive pressure to close cases where he felt families needed more help but his manager told him to zip it
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