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No-one told us ds was awarded direct payments..

(17 Posts)
post Fri 12-Nov-10 13:45:30

Hi everyone, I used to be a regular on this board, under another name, but for various reasons have mostly lurked for the last couple of years. Have just spoke to to ds's social care caseworker and found out that 2 years ago, when things wre very crap and I was begging for respite, there was a panel meeting that agreed 4 hrs /week direct payments for him, only.....no-one ever told us. We only found out because we got a report saying 'the famly were awarded..etc, but never took it up'!!! Ds's situation is more difficult now than then in a lot of ways; he's now completely unable to go to school (he's 11, has asd, very, very anxious), has been witout education for a year, sees camhs weekly.
Caseworker is being v cagey as to whether he can still access d payments, is syaing, 'well there might be existing services which are more applicable' despite her telling me a month ago here was nothing at all they could do for him (again).
So.. does ayone know, can we MAKE them give us direct payments for him if they were awarded before? God, it would make so much difference to him if we could get someone to just come and be with him, model social/fienship skills, just somethig for him to look forward to. He pretty much can't leave the house atm.
Sorry to come begging for help when I've not been around for so log, I'm feeling just out of my depth, and so sad for him if this is just going to be another time where I spend bloody hours on the phone to a nice-sounding professional who then says, sorry, there's still f all available for him, which is what's happened with the lea, with the ed psych, withpretty much everyone.
TIA.

chocolatespread Fri 12-Nov-10 14:06:08

Sorry, I don't really have anything very constructive to say, but I wanted to reply to keep this well up the board so that someone who knows more will see it and reply, because I'm absolutely astounded that you weren't told about the direct payments!!! It's also clear that you are in a situation that means that your social worker can surely not hold out on you! shock. Hope you get lots of informative replies.

post Fri 12-Nov-10 14:11:52

Thanks. It's unbelievable, isn't it?

starfishmummy Fri 12-Nov-10 14:12:15

Hi Post, do you have a carers centre where you are? They might be able to advise or to point you to someone who can help.

MaudOHara Fri 12-Nov-10 14:21:35

Do you have a social worker allocated to your family? Our DPs were sorted out through her although she has since moved on now and ours didn't work out, but that would be my first port of call.

I do know that with the cuts our council are making that they are trying to withdraw funding from such things, so I would say insist that they start fulfilling on it now as if nothing else, presumably you need a break.

post Fri 12-Nov-10 15:57:15

I think, tho' not sure, that she is our social worker. Is that the same as social care caseworker?
Not sure if there's a carers' centre, will look into it. God yes I need a break, but even more than that, ds needs to be with someone other than his mum all the time. He's nearly 12, not at school, no friends; there's a buddy scheme, but only for over 14's.
I can't believe they didn't tell us, and now we might have lost the chance sad

TheCrunchyside Fri 12-Nov-10 16:02:16

It sounds like you have cause to complain to the managers that you weren't told about this. This money was allocated to help you. It is terrible that only were you deprived of that help. It is made so much worse that they use your non-use as a possible justification for withdrawing it now. Possible your local citizen's advice could help you write a letter?

post Fri 12-Nov-10 16:02:45

And thanks. I bloody love mn.

post Fri 12-Nov-10 16:09:02

Yes, she's said, big apologies, don't know how it happened, that person's left, etc. But it doesn't help us, of course. I think I do need to go to citizens' advice or something.

SausageMonster Fri 12-Nov-10 17:11:29

Hi post

They normally review Direct Payments annually so the Council really have screwed up by not even realising you hadn't used them for 4 years!

I don't think you need to involve CAB. Just tell the Council you want the payments to strat immediately and start arranging the support package yourself.

You could complain to the Council and they would probbaly award you a very small amount of compensation but that would be about all you'd get.

What really worries me about your DS's situation is the fact that he's been out of school for a year. Even with his mental health issues he should be receiving a suitable education. If he isn't able to attend school he should be getting at least 5 hours per week home tuition, or more if he is able to cope with it. The LA should also be looking at getting him a school placement that can meet his needs for the future.

It's easy for the LA to shrug their shoulders and walk away when a child has problems such as your DS's and as long as he's at home they won't actevely be trying to provide an (expensive) solution.

I hope that's not the case.

Best wishes

cansu Fri 12-Nov-10 17:17:52

When my ds1's direct payments were withdrawn due to cuts, I phoned the head of children and young peiople's services at my council and complained to him. I put it in writing to him as well as to my county councillor. I also wrote a letter of complaint to the social care manager. Strangely enough thye changed their minds... Complain loudly, persistantly and widely, not just to social care but to the people who are supposedly in charge. I was told that the phone calls to the councillors made all the difference. If I was doing it again I would also include my MP. Good luck.

post Fri 12-Nov-10 18:36:46

Sausage, you're spot on about the LEA. We knew he wasn't able to attend school any more, he flat refused to go back, and his previous school backed us completely; they were a great, experienced, responsive mld school with a specialist autism stream. So we asked for some out of school provisio, as by that time ds was terrified, in a terrible state about going back.
Over a year later we have the backing of camhs, and ed psych, the new school he's been alocated to and his paediatrician saying he's not able to attend school for he time being, but the lea aren't having it and refuse to provide anything for him.
I do my best, but I'm not a teacher, I've got 2 other dcs, I can't go to work and, frankly, he's entitled to an education he can access, like any other child.
There are 2 agencies in our area that can provide children with some hours of home ed if they can't attend school. They've both assessed him; he's supposedly too able for one and too high-need for the other.
Whew! Big rant!
I know we're looking at a tribunal next, but me not being able to work for so long has really hit us financially, and the thought of a £££ barrister or whatever we'd need is daunting. That's partly why we've hung on so long, I kept thinking that once they've seen the evidence they'll give him what he needs sad
I did say to the caseworker today that we wanted the payments to start now, she said that they'd need to go back to a panel, and more likely they'd try to find something else rather than d payments. This is after telling me a monh ago that there was nothing available; presumably before the alternative was having to give us any money.
Cansu, that's useful. Thanks.

SausageMonster Fri 12-Nov-10 20:37:54

Hi Post

I guessed the situation regarding a suitable placement would be as I described because I had exactly the same experience with my own DS who was too unable to attend schhol, under the care of CAMHS and also with an LA unwilling to faceup to their responsibilities.

The LA won't be in any rush to find him a suitable placement. It sounds as though he has very complex needs and it will cost the LA a very large amount of money to give him th education he is entitled to. So, the longer he's out of school the better, as far as they are concerned.

You need to force the LA to accet their responsibility.

I'll tell you how I tackled it.

I asked CAMHS Clinical psychologist to me a report detailing his difficulties and what provision my Ds would require to overcome them. CAMHS are very reluctant to involve themselves in education / school issues. With a son with complex needs such are yours they are frightened that the LA will ask them to pick u part of the cost of an expensive placement because the need could be considered to be partly medical.

Ask CAMHS for a written report - you are entitled to have one.

Use that report to request that the LA provide suitable education as defined in the CAMHS report. If he already has a Statement (which he should have) ask for an immediate review of his Statement and use the information in the CAMHS report to get the Statement amended to show his full difficulties, increased support and a school that can support his needs named on that Statement.

You'll need to do some reserach yourself to find a suitable school - try the Priory Group in the independant sector.

If he doesn't have a Statement then request one immediately.

Then write to the Eductaion Other Than At School (EOTAS) part of your LA's Education Service. Point out to them that he's out of school, is no receieving any formal education, is capable of learning for (x) hours per week and their failure to provide him with an education "suitable to his age and ability" (important words) is illegal.Tell them that as the agencies have assessed him and cannot offer him home ed you expect EOTAS to find and fund a tutor who is able to provide the ducation he needs. Be very forceful - they are breaking the law here. Threaten them with a solicitor.

He cannot just sit at home without any education and just see CAMHS once a week. That cannot continue.

As far as the Direct Payments are concerned I woudl write a stiff letter to the Council pointing out that they've denied him his rightful DPs for the last 4 years and that they are causing additional and unnecessary distress by refusing to pay them to him immeditaley. Tell them you expect them to be paid from(next week) or you will raise a formal complaint.

That shoudl do the trick.

You need to get very, very angry about the way your DS (and you) are being treated. You're being ignored. Your LA will continue to ignore him for as long as it can until he reaches school leaving age. Believe me. Every day his needs are ignored is money saved to them.

I don't know if you've contacted IPSEA or SEN:SOS, but I'd recommend you do so. They can provide Tribunal support so you don't need to hire a barrister.

But quite honestly, with such complex and well-documented needs as your DS has, it would be a no-brainer at Tribunal.

Well that's how I got support for my DS. It was a long haul but well worth it.

Best wishes

Agnesdipesto Sat 13-Nov-10 07:16:27

If you want dp then I can't see they can make you take alternative. But the point is that they are at fault and if they hadn't made error you would have been getting them. You need to make formal complaint to council and then take it to local Govt ombudsman. LGO will say council must put you back in situation you would have been in and probably get you some compensation

post Sat 13-Nov-10 15:11:03

This is all brilliant advice. Thank you so much. This is literally more help that I've had in the last 2 years, actually feels like something I can make a start on. I will report back!

SausageMonster Sat 13-Nov-10 19:37:55

Please - keep in touch

FnD Sat 13-Nov-10 21:10:01

Hello
have only quickly read all the posts so it may have already been said - but if your son meets the elgibility criteria - then they have a legal obligation to offer you / him direct payments.
The new personalisation agenda means that they should be reviewing his / your needs annually and then offering you a personal budget for you then to decide how to use it - depends on where you live how rubbish social services are about this.
In control is a website that gives good advice about what you are entitled to and how to get it.

I would also be asking for the entitled money backdated!

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