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CAF meeting = Spanish inquisition

(13 Posts)
YakkaSkink Sun 10-Jul-11 21:51:24

I guess this is a warning about agreeing to a CAF. I set out looking for some advice and help about DS, mostly about how to co-ordinate the medical side of things (nowhere near a dx), plus the hope of getting the school a bit nearer to understanding DS as not just 'oppositional' and for some more targeted parenting advice on handling a child who's frequently violent and doesn't respond the way people expect him to. I also wondered if there might be any support available for helping DS to be included in social activities outside school. I think he has some learning difficulties: it's not clear what but probably including dyslexia, sensory processing problems, possibly ASD. He also has a very high IQ and is very immature.

I'd been sent on a 'Triple P' parenting course which was a pretty pointless exercise as I do all that stuff (well, the bits that will work for DS, but I've tried it all at one time or another), but this was the first CAF meeting. I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be chaired by a social worker (huh?) who sat there suggesting that for DS to be so disturbed he must be being neglected or abused, so he asked me if I gave him any affection, suggested that he'd been abused because it must be either neglect or abuse to produce such behavioural problems. The whole thing was coated in sugar and maybe I'm more easily offended than most but it was 1/2 hour of defending myself against some twonk saying, with full dramatic emphasis: 'But who cuddles him? Who does he go to when he's hurt?...'

The upshot is that there isn't any more support on offer - and that if I'm the terrific parent I'm saying I am then I'll be able to manage. Bloody hell. Perhaps I was asking for too much in terms of support, but the surprise social worker with all his assumptions was just scary. Having looked online now at the way in which CAFs are analysed, the problem seems to lie in the process - all the paperwork seems to suggest that emotional & behavioural difficulties in children are caused by bad parenting.

Anyone else had this happen? I thought a CAF was a way of getting support.

Agnesdipesto Sun 10-Jul-11 22:25:32

You can apply formally to social services for a carers assessment and disabled child assessment. People have mixed experiences - some wish they never went near social services - but our experience has been positive. Was the social worker part of the disabled childrens team or child protection background? Our DCT SW are lovely. We haven't dragged much help out of them but it is starting to increase.

Cemented to the Floor by Law is a free publication on Council for Disabled Children website which you should read about your rights.

There is a duty to provide a short break if you meet the criteria. As far as I am aware a need for a short break is based on need not on whether you are blame free or not! Not sure that why a child is behaving poorly is relevant to the need for a break from such behaviour.

Am bit worried you are going to find child protection on your tail now. Lots of people on here had that experience. I would get in first and go to your GP, say child protection concerns are being raised about your parenting and therefore its essential that your son gets a diagnosis. Ask for a referral to a specialist centre for diagnosis eg Great Ormond St, Lorna Wing, Elizabeth Newsam who specialise in difficult diagnoses

You could apply for a statement of SEN (see IPSEA) that can be hard with a HF child, although shouldn't be impossible if behaviour is challenging. That can be a way of getting reports too. If you get refused assessment and appeal and are eligible for legal aid you can then get legal aid to pay for reports to support the appeal.

signandsmile Mon 11-Jul-11 07:15:12

Sorry you have had such a crappy experience, (I know they do happen) sad. Just want to encourage others who may be reading they are not all like that. (ours was really useful, but that may be cos we have dx and clear needs maybe?)

Did you know you have the right to choose your 'lead professional' the person who organises and chairs the meeting? It can be any of the professionals involved with your dc.

YakkaSkink Mon 11-Jul-11 09:07:38

Fortunately, I like the lead professional - she was sticking up for me as she knows DS pretty well as she works at the school. The SW was just there to chair the first meeting so he's not supposed to be back, neither him nor the 'parenting support worker' who turns out to work for him (I'd assumed she was something to do with education) has ever met DS.

A bit worried now about them starting off child protection investigations. Thanks for the tip-off. I feel like I've inadvertently stirred up a wasps' nest.

Chundle Mon 11-Jul-11 09:29:35

Omg you poor thing! I've heard CAFs are either really good or really bad! I think I will steer clear as I've a feeling that a CAF for dd1 will be really bad as she tends to do rather extreme things. Thanks for warning

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Mon 11-Jul-11 09:33:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YakkaSkink Mon 11-Jul-11 09:53:08

Maybe a CAF is safer a bit further down the line when there's at least some idea of a likely dx. I think he must come from a child protection background, given the angle he was taking, but I didn't think to ask as I was on my back foot.

I think the school will initiate a statement next year (they've asked me to hang fire for now) as they're having to provide him with 1-2-1 support from their own budget at the moment so I can't see then not seeking one; the Ed Psych is assessing but off sick a lot. DS just got DLA. One concern (and one of the reasons for going for a CAF) is that the teachers seem to be divided into two camps, some who seem to have grasped that DS has some substantial issues that we haven't really got a handle on yet and others - the class teacher and, most frustratingly, the SENCO - who see him as disobedient and 'oppositional' which is really getting in the way of figuring things out and helping him (and reducing the violence) because they still see more 'discipline' as the solution. I had thought that a CAF should be able to help with that in theory as it's supposed to get people talking to one another but it can clearly backfire before there's enough evidence in place.

Chundle Mon 11-Jul-11 09:59:34

We were told a CAF would help us access support like Fair access to carers breaks etc etc but as dd1 (dx with ADHD) does random things like asking boys at school to pull their pants down(omg!) I'm thinking the child protection team would have a field day with her! She is not neglected and not been abused, just highly impulsive get a thought in her head and doesn't think of consequences

lisad123 Mon 11-Jul-11 11:37:40

why was he there?? You choose who is at a CAF! I think some proffessionals see a CAF as a way fo getting extra info without having to start SS referal! shock
A CAF is a way of bringing proffessionals involved in the family together so they are all aware of the families difficulties but also what is being done. It saves countless calls and repeated work. It should have no more than 8 people (inlcuding parents), and should be a supportive piece of work. Im so mad for you, apalling behaviour.

Sidge Mon 11-Jul-11 11:44:05

I used to sit in a CAF/TAC team and saw some good ones and some terrible ones - it very much depends on the lead professional.

mummyplum Mon 11-Jul-11 13:06:17

Poor you, that is truly awful. I know someone who has had a similar experience. Her son clearly (IMO) has a behavioural/communication problem and the CAF team so far are playing the blame game, despite having 2 other NT children! You do choose who is at the CAF, however someone I did not want involved as she had already said she could NOT help my daughter was the Early Yrs Education person from the council! She actually decided she would lead the meeting. She was already deemed completely useless by myself after suggesting during a home visit my daughter's severe chest problems could be corrected by herbal methods (off the record of course). Luckily the rest of the team (senco, nursery, surestart, foundation teacher) were worth their salt and I ended up leading most of it as the silly cow's info was wrong. Unfortunately the SENCO and foundation stage manager admitted that once school begins the CAF will be quite useless as none of the current team will be available, so will just be a meeting between me and the SENCO eventually! A CAF in my experience has only been useful in sending my DD to a community paed who is now managing all of DD's concerns - something I have been battling for since her birth!

Starchart Mon 11-Jul-11 15:56:28

Just a word of warning, our SW claimed that part of why their was a CP issue to be investigated is because I'd had a CAF and not invited them hmm.

But I found out from a sensible HV that there was no CP, even though the SW told me over the phone that there was.

There really is some dodgy stuff going on and it absolutely isn;t you, so try not to take it personally.

Agnesdipesto Mon 11-Jul-11 19:27:15

Didn't mean to worry you. just know sometimes these things escalate
Is there a behaviour support outreach team who could come in and perhaps diffuse the split at school?

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