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Social services

(13 Posts)
jamncustard Thu 02-Oct-08 07:10:32

my son has recently been moved out of our town to another location approximately 100 miles away for his own safety (16 yrs old)

Social services promised to pay my travel expenses to visit him in the form of a reimbursement. I explained that public transport is difficult for me because of health issues that I have, and would prefer to use a club car on the occasions that I go to visit him, in fact it works out cheaper than the train if his siblings and grandma come along too. No problem they said.

So I've duly done this 3 times now (he's been gone about 6 weeks) and they are denying that they agreed to reimburse me and in fact are saying that there is no need for me to visit him at all shock

problem is that I've had to give up work because of my own health problems and have just recently made a claim for benefits which has not been processed yet, because of the car club payments I now have no money whatsoever, all my direct debits have just bounced and so even when my benefit claim does now get processed, I won't get any of it for weeks because it will be swallowed up by this overdraft and then bank charges. I didn't have an overdraft facility because I've never needed one before.

I've got no money, my electricity is on a key meter thing and is on the emergency allowance so will run out any time soon and the cupboards and fridge are like old mother hubbard's and I've got another disabled child to feed as well.

I've emailed the social worker and her manager several times an the only response I've had is the one that said I don't need to go to where my son is at all, which isn't even accurate because there are review meetings etc which are all held where he is.

What can I do cos I'm seriously struggling here, and all because SS are being awkward and reneging on a promise? also, can I ask them to pay the bank charges seeing as it's their fault this has happened and has taken the total cost of visiting my son 3 times to close to £500, when if they'd paid up it would have been just over £200.

I dunno what to do, I can't stop crying and I now can't even see my son because I've no way of getting to him or him to me

Changed name for this btw

llareggub Thu 02-Oct-08 07:20:23

Oh dear, what a horrid experience.

Did you have it in writing that Social Services would pay? Is there an appeals process? If not try writing to the Complaints Officer.

Can you arrange an overdraft facility to tide you over?

newforold Thu 02-Oct-08 08:36:19

You can apply for a crisis loan to get you through the interim with no benefits.

You should also open up a basic bank account with some one like the co operative bank. This will allow your benefits to be paid into an account that won't swallow your money as soon as it comes in. You can then negotiate with the original bank to repay the charges etc.

If you do the two suggestions above it should give you a bit of breathing space to go to the cab and get some help to negotiate with social services re the travel expenses.

jamncustard Thu 02-Oct-08 09:23:36

Thanks both of you.

I didn't have it in writing but it was in a meeting with about 11 people from different teams so plenty of witnesses.. I've not received the minutes but it might be in there?

I'm going to ring the bank and see what can be done shortly, thought I'd let their early morning rush go by first - will they give me an overdraft if I've no income?

I'll also look into opening another account, we don't have a CAB here.. they went into liquidation about a year and a half ago :/ but there must be some alternative, I'll try to find out.

Thanks again

pippo Thu 02-Oct-08 09:31:06

If your son is being classesd as 'looked after' because he is living away from you, ask to see a copy of the care plan, (if this is your situation you should have one anyway) this is now often a standardised form and I understand has a section on contact and asks about travel arrangements and cost.

AttillaTheHan Thu 02-Oct-08 09:33:49

Hi, this all sounds terrible for you. Social services have a duty to work in partnership with parents, in my opinion by not supporting you to visit your son they are definately not doing their duty. Quote the 'working in partnership' bit when talking to the social worker/ manager or when making a complaint which I strongly advise you to do.
I presume there have been review meetings held which should have been chaired by an independent reviewing officer. If you can remember who they were I would contact them as soon as possible as they usually have a more independent viewpoint and can have a powerful effect upon decisions made if they contradict decisions made in the review meeting IYKWIM. You should be helped as much as possible to see your son. I would imagine they would certainly have an opinion if you were the one saying that you didnt have to see him!!

Good luck and keep on at them.

HRHSaintMamazon Thu 02-Oct-08 09:37:18

if it was discussed and agbreed at a muliti disciplinary meeting then someone should have writtne that up.
who is the lead professional in your case? if its the social worker aask for a copy of the meeting notes.

you should have recieved a report anyway but it doesn''t sound as though you have.

and yes please do as Newfor old has suggested re the bank.

jamncustard Thu 02-Oct-08 09:44:55

I've not had a copy of the notes, but then I rarely do, they seem notoriously inefficient and my son's carers still haven't received paperwork etc that they're supposed to have and nor has their mileage allowance to bring him to see me been authorised so it's all a bit of a mess.

I'm not sure who the lead is, I have tended so far to contact the social worker and her manager, but cahms are also involved and LAC and something called a JAP panel? they don't even write and tell me when meetings etc are.. I only know because either my son or his carers tell me, it's really bad but apparently not uncommon for this borough's SS dept. I have a relative who works for social services in another borough and she said that my borough is renowned for being the worst run and with the highest turnover of staff.

AttillaTheHan Thu 02-Oct-08 09:56:43

Well, I'd contact anyone who is involved with your son who you get on with and ask them if they can pass on the chairperson's contact number. I presume an independent chair will be involved but I guess in some authorities the team manager still chairs meetings.
You will need to shout as loud as you can to get heard by the sounds of it, but keep trying. There will be someone who can ensure that you are not out of the loop and that you get the help you need.
Just out of interest what authority is it?

jamncustard Thu 02-Oct-08 10:23:07

there's never been an independent chair afaik. this whole experience has been really unpleasant and inefficient to the extent that while they insist that I still have full parental responsibility they go ahead and to whatever they want and tell me afterwards, and even if I object they over rule me.

I don't want to blatantly name them in case someone from there reads here.. but it's an inner London borough. I'll happily share which one it is when this is resolved, I just don't want to jeopardise anything for now :/

HRHSaintMamazon Thu 02-Oct-08 10:33:33

its a JAT panel (joint assesment team)
the panel will have a facilitator and your son's case wll have a lead professional. usually the person most involved with him. probably his social worker if he has his own.

I think you should sopeak to the manager in charge of your SW and ask for a meeting.
you still have PR for him and as such you demand to be involved in any decision making about his care.

jamncustard Fri 03-Oct-08 04:31:10

Thanks Mamazon,

I received some minutes in the post today and there it says I must meet the costs of travelling myself, they aren't even offering the travel warrant now. Doesn't really say much else tho.

However that meeting took place before I explained the extent of my health problems and why public transport is such a challenge so perhaps they are reconsidering, I don't know. They aren't replying to my emails and I've left several voice mails which also get no response and that's so disheartening. I really feel out of the loop with regard to my son's care etc at the moment.

I'm going to the dss to see about a crisis loan in the morning, apparently you have to get there before 9am to even get an appointment with the loan person!

jamncustard Tue 07-Oct-08 09:18:51

they finally responded to me and are categorically refusing to reimburse me, despite what they've said previously and are insistent that it is not neccessary for me to travel to where my son is staying to visit him.

Not sure where to go from here but I'm seriously skint as a result of this.

Btw, it's Islington social services dept.

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