Social services(20 Posts)
Little intro just so you can get a better picture.
So I didn't have an easy start in life and had my first son when I was just 15 years old. Social services were involved for obvious reasons, I was a young mum.
I was moved into a home with a foster carer and then moved to live with my dad and step mum, my step mum became controlling when my son was born and I had postnatal depression so everything was very hard. I was still trying to do GCSEs while looking after a small baby.
I decided to let my son stay with my dad and step mum and I moved out to better my self. I went to stay with a friend at first and then moved into supported housing. This was 2011.
In march 2012 I moved in with my oh and we were having contact with my son and over night visits. Things were going well until I mentioned maybe getting my son back and contact was stopped by my step mother.
In April 2012 I started to see a solicitor and then court proceedings started. I got pregnant again January 2013 and social services again became involved because I was trying to get my eldest back too.
Anyway to cut a long story short I got my eldest back November 2013 just after my youngest was born in October. It was difficult but we managed. Social services stayed and watched for a while and then drifted off and closed the case.
The case was closed for about 3 months and then re-opened under the circumstances that my eldest (now 4) wasn't going to playgroup everyday. I tried to say that it wasn't mandatory as he wasn't of school age but they didn't seem to care. Anyway they have been involved again for a while now, about 4/5 months in this time I have had 3 different social workers all very different and all telling me different things.
The new social worker I have is horrible and very rude, my oh had adhd and sometimes finds social situations difficult. The social worker told him that there was no such thing as adhd just bad parenting. We were annoyed by this but left it at that.
At the latest meeting we were told that my eldest has to go to play group at least 3 days a week, have 1 unannounced and 1 announced visit every 2 weeks, my youngest has to go to a group and I need to have counselling. Another thing that was asked is whether we "wanted" to do a parenting course, as there was 4 professionals at the meeting at the time me and my oh felt pressured and said yes as we felt we didn't have a choice.
Later we decided that we didn't want the parenting course as we were doing fine, the children were always fed, clothed and clean and the health visitor didn't have any problems with there social and developmental checks and we were happy with what we already knew.
Apparently as we learnt on Thursday last week this wasn't an option. If we don't do the parenting course, take my youngest to a group once a week, my eldest to playgroup 3 times a week and I don't go to my counselling my children will go on a child protection plan. Now I don't understand on what pretence they need to go on this for as they are not neglects, emotional or physically abused.
The social worker also stated to my partner in front of my eldest that he was only a father to the youngest child, which I found rude and very unproffesional. Also when I tried to ask her why we needed to do the parenting course she had no reason other than 'everyday is a school day' I then questioned that and said if it was true then every parent would be on a parenting course to which she replied it's only for the people that need it but didn't go on to give a reason why we needed it.
I am sick to death of the constant threats and bullying behaviour from the social worker that I have, I feel as though just because I am a young mum to two children and I have depression and anxiety and my oh adhd that we are being looked down on and pushed around.
Is there anything I can do about this and has anyone been in the same situation? Also sorry for this being so long but I didn't know where else to put it and I am at my wits end.
I think that the quickest way to make them go away is to comply tbh. Irritating as it may be. Agree, smile and nod and if they see nothing that concerns them they will have to close the case. Someone has alerted them that there is an issue. Do you have someone outside the family who can be present for meetings? if you have a good relationship with HV, could she support you? Be careful what you say and try and engage with them.
I agree that you need to play the game, for whatever reason you are on their radar and unfortunately the onus is on you to prove that there is no problems.
I don't think 3 days a week at nursery is a big ask and will be good for your son. Attend the parenting course and go to counselling.
It might not be compulsory for the 4 year old to be in education, but as you have enrolled him in a nursery he needs to go. Him not attending regularly gives the impression that you aren't coping, and that his homelife is hectic. Children need a routine, and since he is enrolled in nursery you really do need to make sure he attends. It is preparation for the routine of school if nothing else.
As for the parenting course, parenting is really really hard. Made harder when you have other issues to deal with and you are young too. I think you need to try to stop being so defensive and accept the help that is available to you. Do the parenting course, you never know, you might actually learn something and you could find it informative. If they are offering you counselling grab it with both hands and engage with the counsellor. It could really help with your depression.
Do they have any concerns with the day to day care of the children, or the upkeep of your house? Or anything else at all?
I know that it feels like you are being attacked for being young and for what seems to you silly reasons, but all the things you are describing can have an impact on children. Your mood, your partners mood, the routine, it all means something to the overall happiness of children.
Agree with Sliceofsoup attending nursery irregularly is potentially more concerning than not attending at all.
Thank you so much for your replies as I didn't think I would receive any. I have taken on board your advice and will comply with the rules the social worker has set out.
Hi there Mumof2AO - we're just going to move this to a more appropriate topic.
Having counselling is not a bad thing and certainly doesn't mean your a bad mum. I have counselling for post natal anxiety it's more for me than my children it helps me to cope. I'd go with their advice I don't think they're trying to trick you and want to take your children away they simply want to help your family . If you are unsure of their reasons for wanting to be involved then ask them to clarify maybe in writing their concerns
How are you OP?
It can be very difficult dealing with SS, and I hope you don't feel like posters on here are just the same because we tended to agree with SS. We aren't. This site can be an excellent place for you to get support, but sometimes that will come with some advice you would rather not hear.
I have been where you are, I know how hard it is. I hope you have some support in real life.
Comply comply comply! Just do what they want you to do ......
I feel every ounce of your feelings. They are bullies, inconsistent & they do get things wrong.
They are so scared of getting it wrong they actually "do get it wrong"
Thats unhelpful bigchange.
The OP does need to comply, but not just for the sake of it. She needs to see where they are coming from and accept that there are things she can improve upon.
They do get it wrong, and I have met my fair share of nasty SWs in my time, but they have a job to do and people forget they have the children's interests at the forefront of that. At times, the interests of the children can conflict with the wants of the parents, and that needs addressed.
I was a teen mum too. I was 16. I was asked if I wanted social services to be contacted and I said no thank you. I had support from family.
We are now married, with 5 children, and 16 years later, and that question still rattles around my head! We have never had any contact with social services, but they terrify me. Sometimes I pretend that there is a hidden camera and try to see my home and family from the imagined perspective of social services, just to test myself!
I think you need to comply. I don't know if they are justified in being worried about you and your children, but they hold enormous power and it would be sensible to do whatever it is they want you to do. You might find it useful, you might not. But at least you will be seen to be doing the right thing.
None of those things are difficult. Just do them. Why not go on the parenting coursre We can all learn more!
Stop being difficult and get on with it.
Then please tell me why they have the reputation they have?
Other professions have better reputations as they do a good job.
I apologise for my post being unhelpful, however, the reality is why as a society are we allowing people who HAVE NO IDEA about our lives dictate what we can & can't do with our own children? Tell me a case where SS have got it right?
I have been on both sides by the way.....
The OP is not being difficult. She feels bullied & threatened which is what SS do.
Because most of the time, telling someone their parenting isn't up to scratch hits a nerve. Add to that the high numbers of dysfunctional people that SS are dealing with, it isn't difficult to see why they get a hard time.
We don't need qualifications to have children. There is no minimum intelligence requirement. Most parents don't have childcare qualifications, or anywhere near enough insight into the needs of children. There is a need for SS to step in to educate the parents, and to ensure that the childrens needs are being met.
The initial realization that being your childs parent isn't carte blanche to act how you like can be a hard thing to cope with. And these parents rail against the authority that acts in the interest of their children first and foremost.
I don't think any of this applies to the OP. It sounds like she is a great mum who just needs a little bit of support to cope with her mental health issues and her partners adhd. That can feel attacking and bullying if it is poorly explained. I will admit that IME SWs don't explain things clearly enough, which leaves the parents confused and panicked. And yes, it can feel like bullying, but it isn't, it is trying to get someone to do what they don't want to do or don't see the need for.
Getting hysterical about SS helps no one.
Although I will add, you say they have the children's welfare foremost. I tend to disagree, I've seen families torn apart by them being bullied into making alternative arrangements for their lives (ie sleeping on sofas, staying at friends to comply with SS rules) as they are so scared & threatened that their children will be taken away.
How can it be "best" for the children if they are pulled from pillar to post? The parent/s are told one minute routine & structure is good, yet the next minute the parent/s are being forced to stay with other people with their child/ren & up routing them from their routine & structure.
I just personally have never seen or heard of a great experience with SS no matter what the circumstances.
I do indeed respect their job. I respect they have to follow protocol. What I don't respect is the covering of their own arses at the cost of disrupting the child/ren's lives & causing distress, anxiety & ultimately damage in the long run just so they can "tick" their boxes.
But what is causing the need for people to be sleeping on sofas and staying elsewhere? They don't do that in all cases so you are making some sweeping generalisations there.
If SS are telling someone to go elsewhere with their children, then the problem is not SS, it is whatever they are trying to get the kids away from.
My experience of SS in general is that they fail to act for fear of disrupting the child/ren's lives & causing distress, anxiety even when it is quite clear the children are suffering or are in serious risk of suffering at the hands of their parents.
Tell me a case where SS have got it right?
I could tell you dozens, but I won't, because it would be unprofessional. Trust me when I say we are absolutely necessary in millions of children's lives.
That being said, some social workers are totally shit (saw evidence of that myself today in a case I picked up) and you need to be on your guard. Sometimes child protection proceedings can protect you as there is a conference chaired by an independent senior social worker and they will ride the social worker hard if they aren't doing their job properly. A child in need plan is pretty much completely run by the social worker so if you have a bad one you're stuck.
I'm not sure op whether you are representing the full picture or not, but it doesn't sound like they have significant concerns. A parenting course, counselling for you and a structure and routine for the kids are all good things, so take them up on it with an open mind.
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