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childs views for tribunal - do you as parents sit in?

(23 Posts)
bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 17:18:53

after a long drawn out argument with the LA and unsuitable people they wanted to send in to see my son, they are sending someone to take his views tomorrow but the people who are taking his views are saying that it is not appropriate for me to sit in. dont know how i feel about this - ive already objected twice about the people they wanted to send and if im honest i just want his views taken but am also not very happy that i cannot be there. it has now all been very rushed with a phone call from the LA at 4.50pm and them saying that they need to speak now to the people to organise it so i was so put on th spot but not am worried - am i just over analysing it? they are only going to ask if he enjoys school etc so should i just get over myself!

i suppose its the lack of control i now have but i am also keen that his views are his views and at no point do i want to be seen to be coercing him but then he is also a vulnerable child who may just say yes to whatever is put to him!

Handywoman Thu 08-Nov-12 17:27:33

Totally understand, it needs to be very sensitively handled for a vulnerable child and it should be ensured that someone he knows and has a trusting relationship with asks open questions.

Don't know what the answers might be (don't know your situation) but can totally understand your concern. Hopefully someone with experience of tribunal can come along and assist.

Good luck.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 08-Nov-12 17:55:22

Why on earth is not appropriate for you to be there? I would want a very good answer to this.

How old is your son? Who is going to ask these questions? What are their experience or qualifications? Why do the LA believe it is so important to have him answer questions asked by a person he's never met before?

Will this be at school? Can someone else you trust sit in? For example, a TA or teacher?

I would not let him do this with an LA rep on his own. Sorry if that gets your worried but I wouldn't.

bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 18:16:44

it is not the LA rep as such - its an advocacy service - thats what the LA are saying it is but its the local youth workers who have been trained in counselling. the 'advocacty' people are the ones saying that its not approrpiate - i did ask whatever other tribunals they have been onvolved in and we are the first. was totally put on the spot - wish i hadnt answered the phone - they are rushing to do it as the tribunal issed an order to them. i do not feel 100% comfortablebut then tell myself they are just taking his views - what am i worried about? i have asked if his TA can be there and they were not sure if the 'advocacy' service would agree to this. can i ask them to give me a copy of joes view when they have finsihed? have a feeling the 'advocate' will refuse before checking with the LA - i have already refused their first 2 people so am anxious to just get this done and sorted

bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 18:17:26

and its happening at 10.30am tomorrow morning!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 08-Nov-12 18:33:09

How old is your son? You might want to remove his name from your post!

Why does this have to be done and why have you been given no role or say in it?

Is this an order of the Tribunal? Did you get a copy of the order? Who applied for the order and on what grounds? Did you get the chance to comment on the application.

What do you feel about his views being taken in this way?

An order of the Tribunal should be complied with but I am not sure what the order says or how it came about.

Don't do anything you are not happy with and I would not be happy with some 'advocacy worker' quizzing my child on their own.

Scottishdancer Thu 08-Nov-12 18:54:18

Our local authority have sent me a letter asking if I want to be there or not, and it is going to be someone from the school that will be asking his views ( I have said yes). Can't see why you wouldn't be allowed to be there?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 08-Nov-12 18:55:30

Absolutely refuse. I would.

Tell them you'll ask him his views yourself and if there is anything in particular they would like you to bring up.

After all, his views are his views, and not dependent on WHO asks him for them - surely?

bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 19:01:28

the LA have to seek his views - have no problem with that. 1st person was the sen officer who has been a nightmare from the start and reason why we are heading to tribunal. i felt she was not independent - spoke to ipsea and they said object and ask for osmeone independent of the LA and copy in tribunal so i did then tribunal issued an order saying i had objected to anemployee of the LA taking his views. they gave LA until tuesday to respond to my application - tribunal advised that they have know the views be taken by an independent organisation

i am now doubting this - these are youth workers from the local youth club who are employed by the council/LA so again are not independent but are of course not directly involved with my son. i am keen for his views to be taken but just frustrated that the LA keep suggesting people who they employ and now these youth workers say that i cannot attend as its notthe way things are done. they usually work with children in care so of course it is to be expected that when taking those childrens views they probably dont want an adult around but i am a parent and this is a tribunal case. and the person who has been left to sort this is the sen offcier who i opposed to in the first place and who said that if she took his views i could be there. they are rushing around trying to sort it out and just to be helpful i have agreed because it needs to be done but now i feel stupid as due to them taking their time and now its a last minute dash that i have been put in a position where i have had to compromise and have in fact ended up in a worse position than when i started! i just dont want to keep objecting but then its not my fault they keep doing stupid things!

Iceflower Thu 08-Nov-12 19:11:11

What Star said.

Also what qualifications do these youth workers have? I would question whether they have the necessary experience and/or expertise to understand what your son is saying, or how he may react. My son wouldn't know how to answer how he feels about anything, and would agree to whatever someone in authority said. He is particularly susceptible to subtle prompting.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 08-Nov-12 19:11:12

No. His views have to sought.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 08-Nov-12 19:13:32

Even my hell of an LA control freaks were okay with sending home a questionnaire with parents to ask the child, with a note saying they were only suggested questions.

bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 19:26:08

i have asked if his TA can be present and they even seem unkeen about this!!! i do know the person taking his views - she has an autistic son herself although think she has struggled to get him dx - he was at the same special needs nursery as my son many years ago. i have asked that the questions are given to him are visual - i am allowed to speak to her beforehand

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 08-Nov-12 19:30:38

Bottom line is - if you are not happy with not being there, don't agree.

wasuup3000 Thu 08-Nov-12 23:23:59

Erm you tell them that you will be present or they can go and stuff themselves - politely of course!!

bjkmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 23:34:54

thanks everyone - everyone i have asked - and theres been a few people tonight - have all said the same - that we are entitled to be there so i have done an email right now and sending it now saying that as parents we want to be there - im sending my husband tomorrow!!!!!!! he will do the battle for me - got to love him xxxx

bjkmummy Fri 09-Nov-12 11:26:45

well dh gone to school - the adovcate has refused point blank to allow my my dh into the room whilst his views are taken. she has no visuals for my son to use which we requested. she said it will take 2 hours, unlikely to get it done today and she wants to come back on monday - we said no way can she come back on monday - we have our private ed psych seeing him which at this stage the LA do not know about so no way do i want her in school on monday - the LA were told at the very outset that we are unavailable on monday - why would it take 2 hours? why does she think its appropriate for a complete stranger to go in and sit with him - there is no way he will sit there for 2 hours!! we have rejected other people the LA suggested because they were not independent - this person is employed by the LA and even though she says she is independent why do i not believe her. she has an autistic son herself so surely she should understand how difficult this will be for our son? dh gone quiet and no sign of him yet so not sure what has happened

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 09-Nov-12 12:11:54

Oh dear. Hope the outcome is good.

I would submit a letter of complaint immediately at how this has been handled, which you can submit to tribunal if you wish to later. If you make your concerns known now, in advance of his views being reported, that the set up was NOT best practice for a child with your ds' needs, and had the potential to actively harm him then that could help you later.

bjkmummy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:15:30

well the conclusion was that the views were not taken. teh advocate was not ahppy with the room being used plus my husband was very very stubborn. it has now been agreed that his views will be taken on monday pm at a neutral place and that my friend can go and sit in with J whilst his views are taken so she can ensure there is no 'funny business' the advocate at pains to say that they are independant and its just not normal practice for parent to be there as it can influence the child. my friend who is going is very good and she has an autistic son herself. the advocate wasnt very happy either as they have just had it 'dropped' on them so she was off to complain to her boss about how all of this has been handled. she did phone and speak to me and i did feel better after i spoke to her and do feel better now that my friend can be with him. then when i breathe a sigh of relief go and pick j up from school for them to tellme now autism outreach want to come and see him at 12pm on tuesday - he finsishes school at 12.20pm - shes seen him twice and said nothing wrong with him. she keeps putting words into the teachers mouths then writing it up in her reports and i have to keep going back to the school and get them to rebutt what she has said. my dh is saying we should refuse her access to him but can i really keep saying no to everything?? the school have begged her to come in and work with him but no - shes coming in again for another 'observation'

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 09-Nov-12 13:21:00

Agree. Then on Tuesday morning email the school and say that your ds is exhausted from all the assessments and observations and his anxiety is sky high so you are keeping him off and will arrange a future visit with the autism person.

Then email autism person saying the same, giving permission for her to go in in 3 weeks time on a Friday afternoon.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 09-Nov-12 13:26:04

I agree with Star. They need to put your son's needs first, not just send in a load of people he doesn't know because they are facing you at Tribunal.

He will be exhausted after a session with this woman.

I have little faith in the ASD outreach services. Cut and paste advices and one off visits. Useful if you are dealing with schools who have never heard of autism but otherwise, you'd be better off goggling ASD yourself.

They don't work with the children directly so pump out generic crap.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 09-Nov-12 13:27:21

By the way, I still don't agree with the way the LA are going about getting his views. You are a trusted adult and can be charged with the duty of asking your child for their views, unless they can give a very good evidence-based reason for why you will be unsuitable and they will need to substantiate that.

Yes, they have to get his views. It is important to the tribunal that the LA find out your ds' views, but they should not care if they found them out by you submitting them, as long as they ARE his views (i.e. can he write them himself?).

Delalakis Fri 09-Nov-12 21:54:45

I must say I think it's ludicrous to take two hours to get a child's views. They aren't being asked to assess him, they simply need a quick chat about how he's feeling about school etc, and if they can't do that within around 30 minutes they're incompetent. To be honest, the tribunal doesn't pay that much attention to children's views anyway, so they seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill.

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