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Do I need to call Social Services?

(46 Posts)
fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:10:22

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread, I couldn't find one that was better matched. Might be a long one but I need to give a comprehensive account.

I have a friend who I have known since we were 11 (22 now). She had a baby girl three years ago as a teenager and things have not been going well since day 1 - but I'm starting to get really concerned. I think I need to make a complaint to Social Services, yet I have no idea how the process works or whether it is justified. There are several things setting off alarm bells:

1) She smacks (probably quite harshly) her three year old, swears at her, shouts her down from upstairs whilst she is asleep - on one occasion she screamed her to wake up at 1am whilst on the phone to me, before I could object!

2) She is starting to turn to alcohol and smokes weed - with her in the house.

3) She has shrugged off, yet mentioned, that nursery have complained several times about her child saying things such as "my dad is a wanker" and have expressed concerns about her parenting.

4) I strongly suspect she is leaving her three year old in the care of people incapable of looking after her, not really giving a shit as long as she has childcare. I once phoned her and she was asleep upstairs having left her baby in the care of some 'friends' and "some people she didn't really know" who had come with them.

To me this sounds like a list of reasons to call social services immediately but I know that there is a fine line between being a shitty parent and being abusive/neglectful. As well as this she often begs me for money to feed her child which makes me think that her daughter might often go hungry due to her mother's poor money management. Please could someone advise me? Also, if I do need to make a complaint, where do I begin?

ssd Sun 02-Aug-15 23:12:10

phone them

hopefully a social worker will reply and advise you better

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 02-Aug-15 23:14:31

Talk to your friend first and try to help her before you risk getting the child taken away from her.

DragonsCanHop Sun 02-Aug-15 23:14:41

It does sound like you friend needs some help and support.

Why was she needing her daughter to be awake at 1am?

You have been friends for 11 years, can you help her and/or speak to her?

LondonRocks Sun 02-Aug-15 23:16:12

Call them and ask advice. That sounds really awful for the child.

FattieDoc Sun 02-Aug-15 23:16:46

OP- you seem like such a lovely person and a great person to have as a friend. I read your post completely and I would also be concerned.
She might just help and more support but as an adult your duty is to protect that poor child even if it means losing your friendship.
Report it social services- I think it's confidential anyway.

Sarahplane Sun 02-Aug-15 23:17:14

I would phone them. The issues you've mentioned would concern me. I believe they would work with her to try to improve things rather than take her daughter away.

LondonRocks Sun 02-Aug-15 23:18:17

Actually, what you say about her "harshly" hitting her poor daughter makes me angry

She's abusing her child fgs.

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:19:25

I confronted her last week (calmly) and she genuinely did not see a problem with her behavior. I think she is on a massive downward spiral.

There has been some involvement with SS before I believe as the child's father had concerns, and her reaction was to kick off and act like she was hard done by.

The main problem for me is wanting to be there as her friend but also I would feel awful if something happened to her daughter and I had not done what I perhaps should.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:21:40

You could also contact the health visitor, might be a softer approach to begin with, and they equally have a duty of care. Also, social work can not remove children, only a judge can do that, so don't worry about that. It is extremely difficult to have a child removed.

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:22:26

FattieDoc - Thank you for your reply.

As upsetting as it is to lose a long held friendship, I think I'd rather risk it and contact Social Services, because I think the concerns for the child are more important.

Hopefully she will be helped, as other posters have said. I wouldn't want to see her daughter taken away but that is for social services to decide sad

DragonsCanHop Sun 02-Aug-15 23:22:32

You need to think about the child's safety and help her be safe, secondly help your friend.

A 3 year old shouldn't be hit or shouted at.

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:24:19

DragonsCanHop - I was speaking to her on the phone and she said "speak to ..." and screamed her down from her sleep! I didn't give any indication I wanted to speak to her daughter at that time and couldn't say no fast enough. Its this kind of day to day behaviour thats part of the concern..

Athenaviolet Sun 02-Aug-15 23:26:35

You need to rethink how you are seeing this.

The job of ss is firstly to support struggling families. From the sounds of it she is definitely in need of help and support. Ss isn't some kind of punishment for bad behaviour, it is an access point to services which will improve the lives of children and families in need.

She is obviously struggling with parenting and needs advice, guidance, childcare and possibly respite and addictions assessment.

Refer to ss but don't see it as 'reporting' her, see it as opening avenues to improving her and her dd's lives.

DragonsCanHop Sun 02-Aug-15 23:27:25


This must be very hard for you.

We both know that isn't right. You need to seek some professional help for that little girl.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 02-Aug-15 23:28:08

Talk to your friend first and try to help her before you risk getting the child taken away from her

Why the hell do people always pop up on threads like these where physical abuse is either alluded to stated or quite likely going by the info given.

The advice to tell the parent is usually crap advice that puts children in more danger.

Yes professionals guidelines state that you should disclose before referring if safe to do so,the difference between them and joe blogs on the street is that they are qualified to asses if disclousure would endanger the child further.

op report ASAP

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:28:55

Athenaviolet (and all others who have responded!)

Thank you, I really needed to see it that way. I'm going to contact them first thing tomorrow.

friendofsadgirl Sun 02-Aug-15 23:31:26

I think you need to phone someone - either SS or NSPCC. No friendship is worth the risk of harm to a child. Fwiw I have called NSPCC anonymously over concerns for a child in the past. The child was not removed from the home but the situation most definitely improved for them. I know that the child's guardian has been given the support they need now so I will never regret raising my concerns.
Good luck.

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:33:54

friendofsadgirl - thank you.

Just so it is clear I have absolutely no problem burning bridges with said friend if it transpires this needs to be reported (which I see more clearly now it does). I just wanted to make sure I was not overreacting or being irrational. As I said before, I was struggling to make a judgement as to whether it was really shit parenting or something more serious sad

scarlet5tyger Sun 02-Aug-15 23:34:53

If nursery have concerns about her parenting then they should already have opened communications with social services, you won't be the first.

From reading your points in the first post I would be phoning first thing, friend or no friend. I'm a foster carer and a large number of the older children who come to me do so because support wasn't put in place at home early on.

I'm especially worried about a three year old being left with people who the mother doesn't know, and also the no food. How does the child appear when you see her?

whatsoever Sun 02-Aug-15 23:36:52

The NSPCC is a very good shout. Your friend sounds like she needs support and quickly if she is going to be a good parent (assuming she wants to be) and they are often felt to be less threatening than SS as a first port of call. Despite the fact many of their staff are actually social workers.

FattieDoc Sun 02-Aug-15 23:39:09

Fairydust- you are very brave and also sensible.
Make a call as you will not regret it the rest of your life if it turns out bad.
You would have at least done something even though everyone else in your friends life did nothing.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 02-Aug-15 23:39:26

Yes i believe its all confidential. SS access risk, you know her father has raised issues, as have the nursery, so you are not the first and she will be on their radar. Normally they advise the parent to work with them with a list of goals, like who is in the flat, her drinking etc. Do the right thing to get her some help.

friendofsadgirl Sun 02-Aug-15 23:39:30

fairydust, you are not overreacting. Bad parenting or abuse - either way you are right to look out for that little girl. flowers

fairydust181912 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:41:03

I am going to ring both the NSPCC and local social services for advice/action tomorrow morning.

scarlet5tyger - she doesn't appear undernourished, perhaps a bit scruffy but nothing too physically concerning. I wonder whether she does feed her but wants the money for alcohol etc. and needs an excuse to ask me. I have never given her more than £5, instead offered to take her shopping for food, which she has not taken me up on.. I really do worry about the strangers thing as well, I worry that she might even be open to sexual abuse. Kicking myself I didn't do this earlier, something about writing it down makes it seem worse than I had realised.

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