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Referral to Social Services...Advice Please

(12 Posts)
memphisto Thu 28-Jul-11 20:19:07

Hello everyone,

I've lurked for a while now and this is my first post here.

I'm 38 weeks pg and booked to have a c-section next week (breech baby & low lying placenta) and I have a 2 year old boy.

I had my last appointment with my midwife today and she said because she was on annual leave for a bit, she would talk to my health visitor about me because I live 4 hours from my family and I have previously suffered very badly with post natal depression.

My partner and I also had a rough time when I was 28 weeks pg. Basically, he had one episode of drinking rather too much, getting shouty outside because he'd locked himself out, I was away anyway at my sisters. The next day, due to anaemia, I collapsed in town and cut my face and had to have stitches. The day after, the police turned up and said there had been a report of domestic violence, after we both explained respective situations, they were not convinced despite me saying I could get proof I had not been at the house and had been to A&E elsewhere.

The police advised our GP and partner went to see him about treatment for depression and it was mentioned then.

It was also mentioned at my next midwife appointment but I told her exactly what happened and she didn't seem to believe me but it was never mentioned again.

My partner came with me to my appointment today (he hasn't been to the last few due to work) and she seemed to take exception to that.

Today, after my appointment, my midwife rang and said that due to the history of domestic violence (which is not the case) and my history of PND and partner receiving treatment for depression plus us living 4 hours from MY family (but only live 2-3 minutes walk from his!!) they were referring me to social services because of our son and unborn child.

Whilst I have nothing to hide, I have seen horror stories (like many of us have) about social services getting involved and I am concerned.

The other thing she mentioned was that when partner was 22, he was charged with assault and drunk and disorderly, we were honest about this from the start with her as it was flagged up when partner had a child with his ex wife. Also, she thinks that because I got divorced this year, despite being seperated for 4 years, this is likely to make me depressed?

I am really concerned at the moment....just wondering if anyone has been through the same and could offer any advice on what to expect?

Thornykate Thu 28-Jul-11 20:25:56

Was you partners ex or child the person he assaulted age 22?

It is v odd for that charge to be flagged to SS or health services otherwise?

memphisto Thu 28-Jul-11 20:31:48

No, he was drunk and got in a fight and punched another man but his ex-wife told the midwife at her booking appointment after he'd been turned down for a job based on this.

The midwife asked us if there was any history of violence and partner admitted 16 years ago he'd had these convictions, figured it was better to be open and honest from the start.

CrazyAlien06 Thu 28-Jul-11 20:39:08

Nosey people! My DH has been in scuffles! Lots of them and ended up injured and other person has always ended up worse off( all him sticking up for his stupid mates grrrr) anyway, the police shouldn't have taken it as domestic violence unless u wanted to press charges! all seems bit harsh to me. Your partner has been honest and had a drunken shouting session - not a big deal if u ask me!
You must be so frustrated!! I'd be livid if that happened to me! Can u complain and argue everything? Surely they need evidence from
U to specify any details of what happened when u collapsed?

feekerry Thu 28-Jul-11 20:41:08

hi,

sorry i dont know how these things work but couldn't you push more to prove that the 'domestic violence' incident wasn't actually that?
i suppose at the end of the day if your both happy and as you say its not as if you have anything to hide so maybe just carry on as normal and if they visit/call so be it, they'll find no cause for worry?!x

KatyN Thu 28-Jul-11 20:44:44

I was referred to SS at my booking in appointment.. well done for lasting so long!!! I was referred 'just' because I suffer from depression, none of the additional reasons your MW has given (which I don't see is very helpful of her).

Initially I was a bit suprised but they haven't been in touch yet (i'm 25 weeks now) so I expect I won't get a visit.. however I have had it explained by my lovely GP that actually it's jsut that they are a bit worried for me after the birth and want to make sure there are lots of people around to help.

So, you might get an assessment from SS - or you might not (depending how busy your SS are!). They might suggest ways to support you with your new baby, and offer help and advice if you need it.

Try not to worry.. it sounds like a MASSIVE deal but I don't think it should be.

good luck with the new little one!

katy

Pinkseren Thu 28-Jul-11 22:39:47

A referral to social services doesn't necessarily mean that they will have anything to do with you. It is responsible of the midwife to tell you about the referral in case it amounts to anything, and in all likelihood, she will have discussed this with her line manager before the decision was made to refer. The next stage of the process is that social services discuss the referral taking into account all availble information (including that there is no evidence that you attended casualty anywhere or evidence of said domestic abuse) and make their final decision on what to do. If they decide to do anything with the referral, then social services will contact you to assess you. So nothing is set in stone, and this is very easy for me to say, but until anything definite happens and social services contact you, then I would try not to worry too much about it as it is possible that this is the last you will hear of it.

banana87 Fri 29-Jul-11 09:37:22

Try not to worry. A referral to SS does not mean doom and gloom. When DD was 1 our childminder was reported for supposedly harming a child in her care (child was 1, got a black eye, no explanation so parents blamed CM). SS got sent out to all the parents who had a child in her care, including us. They came once, contacted our GP, and were satisfied that DD was fine (why wouldn't she be!?) and closed the referral. I am sure once someone comes out and verifies your account then they will close the referral.

Spero Fri 29-Jul-11 09:52:08

What I think they will be most concerned about here is denial and minimisation on your part. Having too much to drink and 'getting shouty' outside WILL be considered domestic violence, and rightly so I think.

There is concern about violence in relationships - and the definition of violence goes beyond simply physical acts - because there is no doubt that the impact of seeing or hearing violence perpetrated by one parent on another is massive for children.

I am not being precious; try to imagine how terrifying it would be for a young child to listen to a drunken daddy 'getting a bit shouty' outside.

You need to engage and be honest. Being defensive is probably the worst thing you can do. If you are essentially a strong loving family unit who has just had a few unpleasant experiences recently, this will be obvious.

Social services don't want to take anyone's children as they have no where to put them, there are very few good foster caters and they cost a fortune. But they are under a statutory obligation tonprotect children who at risk of significant harm and I am artist having a parent who gets drunk and shouts could put them in that category if there is a likelihood this kind of behaviour is frequent.

Spero Fri 29-Jul-11 09:54:37

Sorry auto correct thing has made some of that gibberish. Hope you got the gist.

Mum2be79 Fri 29-Jul-11 10:35:14

I'm a teacher in a school where the number of children under SS radar is well above national average AND the number of children in care well above the national average.

I have had plenty experience with SS (in my area) and I will say that everyone has been VERY understanding and will do their best to support the family unit rather than split it up. It's very rare for children to be taken into care, so don't worry about that.

I have one child in my class (I will admit, his behaviour is odd and we are referring him to an educational psychologist) whose mother brings up him and his brother alone. She has admitted that she herself has special needs (lacks basic parenting skills) but the love for her children is obvious - even to SS. She has been in several accommodations since last September and at the moment she's living in a 4-bed house (which I don't agree with as it's too big for her, especially as she has problems looking after her boys, the house and herself) but the point is, SS have no intention of splitting the family up and are throwing support agencies at her to help her cope. I'm not saying that you are in the same situation, from your OP it's obvious that you are not but it takes major harm (physical, sexual, emotional and neglect) to be done to a child before they are removed.

Work with them and don't get cross or angry with them over the slightest thing. Bite your tongue and go with it. In my experience, SS will see behaviour such as not letting them in, showing your dissatisfaction at them being there and being defensive with an angry tone as trying to hide something or as a family with anger management issues which can potentially harm a child's development (and it does!) and they will stick around for longer. 'Smile' welcome them into your home, listen and answer questions in a positive tone. Chances are they'll come round once and leave you alone or may visit a few times once baby is born and realise that their time, money and resources is being wasted and close the case.

Seriously, try not to worry.

hester Fri 29-Jul-11 10:54:35

Ok, first of all keep calm. They want to help you. Their 'help' may not be welcome to you right now, I understand that, but they are not looking to take your children off you.

I agree with you that every separate thing you mention is not that big a deal, but taken together (PND. partner with history of violence and drunkenness, distance from your family, the cuts to your face) it is not unreasonable for them to at least raise concerns. I know it is infuriating to feel that they are not listening to you, but bear in mind that domestic violence is very common in pregnancy (pregnancy is a time when it often starts, or gets worse) and many women do deny and minimise it. So they're just being ultra-careful.

Be honest with them, not defensive. I'm sure once they've seen that you and your dp are doing fine they'll be off your back. But if things do go wrong - if you get PND again, for example - they may be able to be of some help.

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