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Best way to challenge children's services

(7 Posts)
newmumwithquestions Sat 08-Nov-14 17:03:59

Hello,

I have just started on a challenge to the way we were treated by social services (explanation below) and I'd appreciate any help in making it successful. In particular, advice from anyone in the know about what standards and procedures dictate how social workers should behave and how to hold them accountable if they break protocols.

Also I am interested in those that have experienced similar situations.
I plan to go as far as required for change and whilst we're still going through the standard complaints procedure at the moment we're not very impressed with the response so far and so I think we will have to go higher. It may help to group together if any other mumsnetters are interested in combining together for one consistent message.

From reading other posts, some people have been or are going through terrible experiences with social services. My heart goes out to you. Our own experience will sound relatively trivial to you as it lasted for less than 2 days but it has been enough for me to try to change things, and some of your frustrations are or were the same as ours which makes me believe that there are repeated patterns that should change. I personally believe that being a social worker must be an incredibly hard job, and there are good ones out there, but it feels like the system is failing too many times.

Our experience was that we were referred by hospital medical staff due to a mark on our newborm baby that looked a bit like a bruise. I do not mind that we were referred as I think that's being thorough. The staff concerned could have done a few things a bit better but we have fed this back to the hospital and received a good, considered response to our feedback outlining improvements they are going to implement.

However, in between being referred and seeing a paediatrian (who confirmed it was not a bruise), childrens services were involved. We found them aggressive, judgemental and that their response was not proportional to the situation. It was a small mark that was not (and never was) confirmed to be a bruise, yet they turned up at our house and implemented safeguarding procedures - we were not allowed to be alone with our baby, including overnight and when breastfeeding. They were insensitive, did not adequately inform us what was going on, and kept on threatening to take our baby away from us. I could go on but I dont want his post to be a rant - that's not the purpose. We have nothing in our history that would suggest our baby was in any danger - this was totally out the blue. We have complained and received what I would describe as an inadequate reply so will be escalating our complaint.

Any advice or contact from those who have been through similar would be appreciated.

Thanks!

runnerblade Sun 09-Nov-14 09:32:05

Hello newmum, sorry you went through this. Social workers have to abide by the 'working together' guidelines; have you read these? They should not have threatened to remove your baby. That is not in their power to do. Only courts can remove babies (and the police, for a limited time). There is child protection resource on Mumsnet, but I am not sure how to link to it.

saintlyjimjams Sun 09-Nov-14 09:39:24

Not child protection but I am at stage 2 with a complaint against a part of children's services. If there are any outside bodies that you can get involved do. Our complaint isn't against a school but we were able to get Ofsted involved & they agreed with us - this has helped a lot.

Also I have found the words 'I am going to he talking to my MP' and 'I am informing the councillors' works wonders.

newmumwithquestions Sun 09-Nov-14 20:46:57

Thanks both.

Runnerblade - I am currently printing a key page - of the 'working together' guidelines - I hadn't seen them.

Saintly - I will bear in mind your advice. The response I have had from the hospital was very good and they have agreed with us so I will try to involve them if necessary in stage 2. Good luck with your stage 2 - I would be interested in hearing how it went!

The more I look into this the more shocked I am that they are trying to justify what they did!

Spero Sun 09-Nov-14 21:07:26

you might find something useful here from another parent who went through the complaints process - and I am afraid had a pretty awful time.

www.childprotectionresource.org.uk/complaints-against-a-public-body-a-parents-advice-and-perspective/

there is also a more general post here.
www.childprotectionresource.org.uk/making-a-complaint-about-a-professional/

Spero Sun 09-Nov-14 21:09:03

I think a big part of the problem is the 'muscular child protection' that is now expected after Peter Connolley was killed, but sadly without giving children's services the support or resources they need to do a good job.

newmumwithquestions Wed 12-Nov-14 11:24:33

Thanks Spero. Am reading and digesting everything.

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