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Had to put son in hands of Social Services

(16 Posts)
Tricia7212 Thu 07-Jul-11 17:47:14

hi all,

Haven't been around for a while..real life getting in way sort of thing.

Anyway just to put you all in the picture, my son ( age 28)who has moderate to severe learning disabilites and three types of epilepsy..attacked me on sunday sad. I phoned the emergency line to Social services and was told I had to phone the police first, which I did and they arrested him sad. I then had to phone the SS back, whilst I was on the phone she asked me why son hadn't been statemented till he was 14! I soon put her right on that score...

He was first statemented at the age of 4 in West Germany when OH was in the forces, then in Cardiff when we moved then by you lot twice when we moved here. At the age of 10 you said he didn't need your help anymore and no matter what I said it made no difference..then the comprehensive school got involved and he was restatemented..then sent to a special needs school then to the ace dept in the local college then you all lost him!!!!

Anyways back to Sunday the police phoned and told me he would just be cautioned, which is the best I could have hoped for. I then got a phone call off SS saying an option for my son that night was to be put into a travel lodge unsupported as he could take his meds by himself! I made it clear what i thought about that idea. In the meantime they had told the appropriate adult the police and his solicitor that he would be going to a unit for the night maybe two while they reassessed him. So when he phoned at 10 i put him onto loudspeaker and he said he would not be going to this unit they had no idea where he was going to go. In the meantime he is sat in a police cell!!!

At 11.30pm i had another phonecall off the SS telling me they had a problem placing him, and could he come home just for the night!! Now as I have an 8 yr old who witnessed the attack and was told by the police he was not to come home and they told the SS this... I told them no. They have now placed him in a home with another young child (yes I know they have done a risk assessment of this) so when I was made aware of this I voiced my concerns. He's still there. His social worker came out to see me on the Tuesday, for clothes and money for him and to ask me what happened even though I had explained it to the emergency staff on the Sunday. Once again I voiced my concerns about where he was. son cannot handle noise or too much noise...IE children get louder as they play this is down in his notes. My 8 yr old is quiet till he starts playing, so son used too go off to his room and watch dvds or tv etc...

At the moment they are looking for a supported living accomodation for him though this may take a few weeks. Though I was told it would be easier for them and cheaper if he was with adult placement.

I am now waiting to see when my MP ( although he's a waste of space) is in my local area, because I am writing down a list of questions about what and how did it go wrong. And how are they going to improve the transistion from childrens services to adult services ( which is where he got lost).

So I am now sat here battered and bruised, emotions swinging like a pendulem. Close to tears most of the time, and still fighting for my son.

Sorry this is long.

drivemecrazy63 Thu 07-Jul-11 18:30:03

ive no way of knowing but i imagine as i have a ds with asd, dyspraxia and ld how awful you must be feeling how scared for your ds and the boy hes staying with, how frustrated and very angry. i hope you get a better result soon and something good comes from something bad so far ive found something pretty bad has to happen before they often take notice of us.

the supported living accomodation sounds ideal well as much as it can be.

this subjects playing on my mind ds is 11 and growing up fast physically if not mentally and i cant control him alone takes two if having a meltdown , i really am concerned about the lack of help as they change from child to adult services , i know its a while away yet but my health is not very good and i also worry about when im gone ive hardly any family , luckily he has a brother and sister but they ma not have room or be able to cope, its very scary stuff you have my greatest sympathy.

also write to the health minister everyone you can think of both parties if you have to and ask those questions put the buggers on the spot id love to hear what happens let us know if you get anywhere.

in meantime youve deffinately done the right thing youve another dc to think of and your own safety, so please dont think badly of yourself theres only so much you can take . good luck

PipinJo Thu 07-Jul-11 20:42:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCrunchyside Fri 08-Jul-11 00:06:15

What a shitty situation. You really had no choice but to call in ss. I hope your son gets the support he needs. I second the idea of putting in writing your concerns over him eing placed with children.

Tricia7212 Fri 08-Jul-11 07:19:45

Thanks for all your messages of support. I will do as you suggested and write to the health minister. My GP knows already. I'm lucky in the fact that a local councillor assesses my Social services dept and I phoned him at 10 pm on the sunday night and he came out. He has also voiced his concerns to the Directorate of Social Services.

I have to go to the SS today to give them some money for ds for next week.

Still on an emotioanal rollercoaster at the moment, but I know that he will be better off in supported living accomodation in the long run.

We had a family celebration planned for tonight as me and OH have been married 30yrs today, we cancelled that. Just doing a meal for us and two close friends.

starfishmummy Fri 08-Jul-11 08:43:52

OMG what an awful time Tricia.
I hope you can enjoy your evening. Congratulations on the 30 years!

Starchart Fri 08-Jul-11 08:59:18

Oh you poor thing. Sounds absolutely awful. You absolutely did the right thing to refuse him home. That 'ONE' night would have turned into two, then a week etc etc.

I don't really understand why they are making you turn up with money for him really but I guess this is only a small thing in the great scheme of things.

I hope the resolution is something you feel is for the best.

Tricia7212 Mon 11-Jul-11 08:28:39

I have written this letter and I would appreciate feeback on it. Cc will be going to GP, Directorate social Services, Health Minister, local Cllr, and MP. I have obviously taken out names and places in the letter for publishing on here.

I am writing to you as a concerned mother of an adult son with learning disabilities. For this purpose I am going to go back the very start to give you an overall picture of my son.

Son was born prematurely in November 1982, in BMH Munster West Germany. He was late walking and talking, and concerns that I had about his development and behaviour were put down to me being an over anxious mother. When he was 3 it was discovered that he needed grommets, this was done in BMH Munster. When he started school in West Germany, within 6 months it was decided he needed to be statemented, which was done and Son was afforded the extra provision he needed in his education.

My husband was then posted to xxxxxx in 1988 and the process of having son statemented began all over again. Once again he was given the education that he needed. Then in 1992 we moved to here. The process of statementing began again. It was here that Social services decided he did not need any special provision in his education, despite the fact all his school life he had been receiving this!! Once again my concerns as a parent were ignored!

Son then moved on to the local comprehensive School. At the age of 14 the school then contacted me regarding his failings in school, despite the fact he was in their special needs dept. So once again he was statemented and yes he needed extra provision and by going to a special School twice a week would provide it. At this time the person who came out to assess him asked why they hadn’t seen him before. When I explained the situation I was told, “ He slipped through the net”. It was during this time that he was being bullied in school so I pulled him out of the local comprehensive and he ended up going to the special needs school full time until he reached the age of 19, with ongoing assessments. He then went to the Ace dept in the local College until he was 21.

Then nothing. For 7 years son had nothing. During these 7 years he started to have seizures. Because the seizures were bad I actually contacted the social services dept and asked for some help with him. When the person who assesses what is needed came out I asked about services that son could tap into and for respite for me and the rest of my family. I was then told this was not her dept but she would hand over what I had said to the relevant parties. Whether this was done or not I have no idea.

On the 6th March 2010, son had what can only be described as a mental breakdown and ended up in a secure unit. After explaining the situation to one of the nurses there, and giving sons list of schools to him, I was told he would be moved in the morning as where he was, was not appropriate for him. Of course this didn’t happen. For a week I was fighting to get him moved to somewhere else that was appropriate. I spoke to the head (team leader) of the Disability Team, to be told, …” I have worked here for ten years and have never heard of your son”… I pointed out that he went to a special needs, so they must have a record of him there. No they didn’t, all records that they have (had) of my son they lost!(although sons GP has all of them) On the Friday son was assessed in the secure unit, and once again I was told..” why haven’t we come across him before?”… To which I replied..”Because you lost him!” At the end of the assessment I was told it may take a week or two to assign a social worker to son, by this time I had had enough and told her, “No, there had better be one in place by the end of working hours today or by lunchtime Monday or I would take things further son was allowed home that Friday from the secure unit. That afternoon I had a phone call off social services that MENCAP had already got a social worker assigned. So a charity had done in a few hours what social services said they couldn’t do for a few weeks!!

His social worker then after seeing son went on holiday and then went on sick leave, so for three weeks I heard nothing. It was at this point I contacted a local councillor , whose help I found invaluable in this situation.

Resources were then put in place for son to enable him to have at least a better quality of life than what he did have.

On Sunday 3rd July, son attacked me. He punched around the head and face as well as kicking me when I was on the floor. I phoned the emergency number for social services to be told I had to phone the police first. Which I then did son was arrested for assault. When I phoned social services back I spoke to a xxxx and was asked why my son had not been statemented until he was 14! Of course he was, as I explained to her, you have his records somewhere, you just can’t find them!.

A neighbour went to the station as the appropriate adult for son and a solicitor was present as well. It was after the interview when everyone were told that son would be going to xxxxxxx xxxxxxx Hospital for one or two nights to be assessed, in the meantime I had had a phone call off the police officer, updating me on son. I was also told that they might put him into a Travel lodge unsupported because he could take his medication on his own! I then received a phone call off a social worker telling me this was an option they were looking into, as xxxxxxx xxxxxx Hospital would not take him, as he didn’t have any mental health issues as far as they could tell. He then told me he would get back to me. The neighbour who went to be the appropriate adult came back and told me that they were wrong because everyone in the station were waiting for social services to pick son up to take him to xxxxxx xxxxxx Hospital. Of course this didn’t happen, another phone call off social services asking if there were any relatives he could stay the night with, I told them no. I could here a phone ringing in the background and was told sorry I’m busy right now I will have to phone you back. The last phone call I had that night was at 11.30pm, this time I was told we are having problems placing your son, and would it be possible for him to come home just for the night! This is beside the fact I have an 8 yr old that witnessed the assault and had also been advised by the police he was not to come back here. Besides the fact that I was still in shock to then find that social services couldn’t find suitable placement for him and that they were insensitive to not only my feelings but those of my 8yr old!!

In the morning I had a phone call off Adult placement telling me they had placed son with a couple who had a child just months older than my youngest. I expressed my concern at this as noise is a trigger for son and children get louder as they play. The reply was they have a nice quiet child and he will be going to school. Now these people don’t know my youngest, he is also a quiet little boy till he starts playing and like all children the decibels go up!

What I would like to know is how can they just lose someone from their records, not once but twice!!! I have been told it was the transition from children’s services to adult ones. I’m sorry but this just isn’t good enough. Son was more able when he left college than he is now, and with help would have probably already been in supported living accommodation and maybe even had a small part time job. I find the failings in social services to be unbelievable to say the least.

At this moment in time son is still with this couple and their young son.

I look forward to hearing your response to this letter.

Yours Sincerely

acumenin Mon 11-Jul-11 08:55:28

If you actually want to know how people can lose records, they will answer you, but I think you will be unsatisfied with that response. It's really important to be direct as Social Services don't want to help you or your son, they want to reduce their caseload - that's always their primary goal - so unless you specifically require them to do things they will do nothing, IME.

If you can articulate your actual goals, you may get further. Be specific. If possible, outline your problem and a specific and concrete set of actions you wish them to take. Also specifically warn them about the danger, in this sort of language:

"I must specifically warn you that your placement is inappropriate and that you are endangering an eight year old child by continuing it. Please find a new placement."

If you want to pursue the neglect of your son's case and their lack of support for you, I advise you contact your local Carer's Centre, who chould be able to provide you with some brochures on your legal and human rights. I think one is actually called "Human Rights for Carers". It's pretty unlikely you'll get anywhere with the stuff that's already happened, but you may be able to get some better support going forward. When my DP was almost killed by the NHS last time, they suddenly "found" they had masses more resources than previously.

HarrietJones Mon 11-Jul-11 09:28:21

Hi, I read your last thread but had nothing to add. Just one point on the letter, are you sure it was SS that was involved in the statement? It's usually the Local Education office, they would be the ones placing your son in the SN school. SS wouldnt be involved without a referral.

Tricia7212 Mon 11-Jul-11 11:40:20

Yes your right the LEA does the statment. But son was also being seen by a child pyschologist. occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. Which are all within the scope of the SS....and this was alll ongoing when he was in the special needs school.

HarrietJones Mon 11-Jul-11 12:12:41

Slightly different to here then . Psych would still be education & others are health.

I only noted it because you need to be spot on in your letter to avoid then nitpicking at it rather than solving the issue

TheCrunchyside Mon 11-Jul-11 12:35:44

What a horrendous situation. I think you should make a formal complaint about them having lost your records - ask SS for their complaints process protocol.

However what matters is what support he gets now. I would set out your concerns about keeping ds and others safe and say what you think he needs for that to happen:

medication, housing, employment, activities, contact with his familiy

The most important thing is that you do not allow him home in the interim as this is the only way they will take it on and sort out long term care.

Tricia7212 Mon 11-Jul-11 14:01:03

Hi Harriet, you're right in what your saying, but here they all come under the scope of social health, which in turn is Social services..they are all under that umbrella... So the SS had his records and lost them twice.. although having said that reading the comments I am going to rewrite the letter and highlight the areas that you have all brought up. I.E the specifics. Yes I want to know how they lost him (because I know for a fact he is not the only one they have lost. They even told one mum whose child is still in a special needs school that they had never heard of him!), but as has been said I need to be more specific in my concerns about his placement, and as TheCrunchyside has said, his future.

Thanks for all your comments I appreciate it.

BakeliteBelle Mon 11-Jul-11 16:04:14

How awful. All I can add is: record everything and ask for everything in writing. Try to avoid dealing with SS over the phone. It's amazing what sort of vital information disappears or is misinterpreted...

WetAugust Mon 11-Jul-11 22:56:01

Hi Tricia

Quite horrified to read the background to your son's situation but not surprised. My son is 23 and his history is very similar - misdiagnosed, statemented, ceased then statemented again, breakdown, admission to pysch unit, special placement...... etc.

Your letter provides excellent background. My observations are:

1) the letter is a bit too long
2) a chronology would help rather than putting the timeline in the narrative of the letter
3) the letter needs to be more focused on the result you want
4) the scatter gun approach of sending it to so many addresses etc only provides each with the opportunity to pass the buck.

Please don't think I'm criticising- I'm not. I too wanted answers regarding how my own son was failed and have quite a bit of experience in tackling this problem.

The responeses will be predictable:

The MP will sympathise, may ask a few questions of the Local Authority but is more likely to say the situation regarding continuity for Service families is being addrerssed and that the Sec of State has recently issued guidance to LAs about this. Personally I would not waste my time writing to the MP. He'll tell you that education is a service that central government has devolved to LAs and is their responsibility.

You'll get a similar response from the Health Minister who'll tell you that health matters are the responsibilty of your local PCT - so I wouldn't bother writing to him either.

You need to focus on what you want - which should be suitable longterm provision for you son NOW. That does not include placing him with another family - it should mean finding a supported living place for him - and they do exist. The 'how we arrved at where we are' is almost secondary, but should also be pursued.

I would (and apologies if you have already done some of these):

1) Formally request an SS assessment of your son's needs both now and longterm
2) Ask for an Adult Mental Health assessment to be undertaken by psychiatrist and community metal health nurse.
3) Formally request that SS undertake a Carer's Assessment of your own needs.

Only then will you have a full picture of what provision your son actually needs and an indication of the sort of permanent placement he will require.

4) Start looking at suitable adult provision for him yourself. That will probably be longterm sheltered supported living - try the Priory Group. They have small communities of adults living together with support.

That will inform you as to what is actually available for him and what you shoudl be pushing for - don't forget the LA who will have to fund this (expensive) placement will try to belittle his needs to save money, so you'll have to argue your case for this (independant) provision.

Once you have secured a suitable placement for him you can start to take action to address the years of neglect that preceeded this.

5) Request a copy of all his files from all the Services that dealt with him since childhood. It's his right to have this. You may find answers in teh documentation and oit will be invluable for future action against the LA.

6) Contact a solicitor, preferably one specailsing in Human Rights or Education Law and try to secure public funding for an action against the Local Authority. As the LA are responsible for all teh services that failed him, i.e. education, SS, Ed Pysch etc they will be vicariously responsbile for all those employeee's failings.

7) Raise a formal complaint against the Local Authotity making it clear what your specfic complaints are: educational negligence in failing to properly identify, assess and support SENs and in ceasing and later having to reinstate the statement. lack of transition planning etc,

That's what I would do rather than sending your long letter which, although heartfelt in describing the disgraceful mess and frustation you experienced, does not focus on the
a) what my son needs now
b) who was responsible for the negligence that led to him being unsupported.

And although some of your complaint is with CAMHS not providing proper transition to Adult Services, the blame for this too could be placed at the Education Service who should have ensured that transition plans etc clearly spelt out the responsibilities for his support post 16 and later when he left school to enter FE. The LA shoudl have notified Connexions and ensured ongoing support was in place.

The problem is that you are your son's only advocate in all this - eveyone else will have a different agenda - which is to save money. You need to find out what's available and fight for it for him.

I successfully sued the LA in my son's case. It took many years but I got the answers and the remedy he was seeking.

Happy for you to PM me if you wish.

Best wishes

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