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Social care for children with additional needs: Mencap is looking for case studies

(11 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-Oct-13 11:19:44


As some of you will know, the Children and Families Bill was published earlier this year. It contains proposals to change the way that children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) receive support to help them learn and develop. And Mencap (which is one of our partners in the This Is My Child campaign) wants to hear your thoughts about it.

The new system plans to extend the SEN system to cover ages 0-25 - including further education for the first time - and replaces statements of SEN with new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). For those without a Plan, the current School Action and School Action Plus categories (which provide tailored support for pupils with less complex SEN) are being replaced by a single 'graduated approach' that doesn't make the distinction between higher and lower level needs.

These changes are at a crucial juncture on their way through Parliament, entering the Committee stage in the House of Lords this month.

Mencap reports that there is increasing frustration that the government is not addressing the shortcomings in the bill; as a result, some charities are launching a campaign to raise awareness of the problems, believing that the government needs to be aware of the strength of feeling and concern amongst families and professionals. Mencap - as a part of this campaign - is leading on the social care support that a child receives.

Children's social care means support received by a child under the age of 18 through social services, sometimes as a 'Child in Need'. This can have a major impact on someone's school life. For example, someone may receive support in the home - such as getting washed and dressed - to enable them to get to school on time. However, the Children and Families Bill currently means that even if a child has been assessed and identified as needing social care support to help them learn and develop, there is no duty on a local authority to provide it.

Mencap is looking for case studies to convince the government of the importance of social care in enabling a child to learn and develop, and it has asked us to find out whether any Mumsnetters would be willing to provide case studies for its campaigning work. It's particularly looking for material around the following areas:

- Why is social care important for your child? How does it help them do better at school?

- Do you have any examples of where you have been unable to get the social care support your child needs? What were the consequences of that?

- How willing have your local authority been to provide the social care support listed in your child's statement?

Mencap would love to hear your thoughts on the Children and Families Bill and how you think it will or won't work for children and young people with SEN. Please share your thoughts on this thread or with Mencap at


BurlyShassey Sat 26-Oct-13 19:22:12

don't know if this applies but I home ed mine as no school could cater for DCs disablilities.

TBH its a Godsend homeschooling as there were many many problems in infant and junior school .

However Im now DCs SENCO and get no support for additional help in schooling, either financially (apparently saving Govt £17,000 a year) or in extra lessons /tuition which Id appreciate.

the SEN panel wher I live are qupportive of my homeschooling and are satisfied with how Im doing it but I could do with more help.

luckystarshine Sat 16-Nov-13 13:13:03

Hi, there,
I have a son with asd, speech and languge and social communication disorder. he attends a speech and languge unit and has transport to and from school.
He is now expected to leave the specialist unit next year, his statement with end and he has been told that he will go to a mainstream college, catch a bus and go alone- it is absoloutly ridiculous- due to his Autism he has very ritual routines, cannot tolerate noise, people touching him and socially cannot communicate well- i feel like we are being let down by the system. how can they end the statement of educational needs and change it to an LDA, i have since found out that specialist colleges will not even consider my son without an extended statement, but it is down to the local authority who has said my son will attend our local mainstream college. she has yet to meet my son.
I really feel as a parent that i do not have any choices in my sons education and neither does he as a young adult. my friends children without SEN choose where they want to go and we are getting told he MUST attend the one they choose, where is our informed choice- it is very unfair.

handerson91 Mon 18-Nov-13 18:26:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Sama27 Tue 26-Nov-13 19:32:30


I have been trying to get help for my 14 year old son from social care for years. My son has been diagnosed with Autism, Selective Mutism and Conduct Disorder.
I do not see any point in having social workers because they do not help children in need. I live in Waltham Forest and the only services they have to offer are respite. I personally do not want a break I just want my son to get a service that would benefit his needs.
I have requested services in the past for example my son wanted to go to the cubs when he was younger and other places like boxing horse riding etc. Their reply to this was that I receive Disability Living Allowance and I have a car so there for I should take him to these activities.
My current situation now is that my son is not in school even though he has a SEN statement and has not been in full time education for over a year. A referral was sent to from the school last year to social care because my son was self harming and the school had serious concerns because he was depressed and suicidal. Social Care did nothing they just ignored the situation.
The school have invited social care to meetings on several occasions with regards to my son but they never attend or send their apologies, they just ignore.
My son was diagnosed last year and a copy was sent to social care with recommendations and they just ignore. For example it was recommended that my son go to a residential school due to the last school not being able to cater for my son’s needs and that a mentor or community support worker with experience to work with my son to help him outside the home etc. Now my son does not want to leave the house and he has severe anxiety.
The consequence of social care not having any involvement and not proving a service is the reason why my son feels that he is not a part of society and feels that because he has autism that the world does not like him. My son use to talk to nearly everyone but now only talks to myself and his brother.
Social Care did not help before the budget cuts so I can just imagine when and if the Children and Families Bill goes ahead it will not make any difference to my son.
I currently have a complaint in progress with Waltham Forest Council both with social care and education. My son has stopped going to school permanently since June 2013 and I have to make a complaint to get help. I was told they would respond in 20 working days and they have not sent me a response to my complaint. So I now have to write to all Councillors and the MP in my borough to tell social care to respond.
Social Care has failed my son and I don’t understand they role and what they are employed to do. I thought social workers were supposed to be advocates and help children who are in need and feel that they should get rid of social workers to save money. For example if my son has not attended school since June why have they not visited him to see even if he is alive? They should be helping me to find some way to get my son back into school but they don’t care. If social workers do provide a service for the child in need the parent has to fight for it until they are blue in the face.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 01-Dec-13 15:09:41

Sama I just wanted to say, what a shocking time you have had. I am so sorry. Your son has been failed so badly.

I really hope Mencap pass on these types of experiences.

JIAR Mon 02-Dec-13 10:37:41

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for taking the time to emailing you your experiences - they just go to prove the point that the SEN system is failing so many families.

In terms of case studies, Sama27, I wonder if you might be able to email me on if you are happy for your case study to be written up. It would be great to hear from you.

Similarly, if anyone has any questions or if there's any way I might be able to offer any advice/support with regard to their child's education, please also feel free to email the above address.

Many thanks again.

Best wishes,

manishkmehta Mon 02-Dec-13 13:00:31

I don't mean to be blunt, but we just tried to JR our social services. The law that was used to get respite care / community care was the childrens act 1989.

Won't all social care, respite / community care continue to be secured by that act? Surely parents will request a core assessment and once completed that will determine provision?

Am i missing something? If so please do let me know.


manishkmehta Mon 02-Dec-13 13:05:17

Sorry... can i suggest you speak to IPSEA... i might be completely wrong, as always, but when the new bill (families...) comes into effect it will cover health and social as well as educational... However, only the educational will be enforceable... If i am not mistaken the familes bill whilst putting social and health into the new plans is a waste of time.

If a child needs social care (respite) won't familes still ask for a core assessment and then use the childrens act 1989 to secure it if the assessment is flawed???

I'm not an expert in this area but you need to speak to IPSEA or - it was MG that used the childrens act 1989 to secure our respite via legal aid.

Sama27 Wed 04-Dec-13 00:57:30


I have been complaining about social services for many years and I have had enough. Whenever I make a complaint about a social worker they will either go on long term sick leave or leave there jobs.

I made a complaint in 2010 because I was evicted from my property because I was in a lot of arrears. I went to social services to ask if they would put my son in temporary foster care because I was homeless and they refused to help. I did eventually raise the money and was able to get back in the property after 3 weeks. I stay in hotels but I was also working to try and raise the money to get back in the property for my son sake.

My complaint was a waste of time because I then took my complaint to the LGO and was awarded £750 which was; £250 for the distress and £500 for back payment for 1 year of play scheme fees. I feel that social services and the LGO have a relationship where social services pays there wages or the Government has put them there to prevent them from being sued. Even though I have evidence to prove my case it is ignored. I will not go back to the LGO this time.

My situation can not be ignored because my son is suffering in silence. I currently have a complaint with social service, SEN and I have made a complaint to the Director of Children and Families. They would not respond to my complaint so I had to contact all the Councillors and the MP and now have acknowledged my complaint. I don't understand why nobody cares that my son is not in school, I'm the only one that seems to care. No professional has seen my son since June 2013 and for all they know I could have buried him in my garden.

Education and Social Service think it's a CAMHS problem; CAMHS thinks it's a Education problem but I feel it everyone's problem and all professionals should work together and stop passing the buck.

manishkmehta Wed 04-Dec-13 19:18:51

If you are a parent with real problems that are really impacting your life then please don't waste time with the lgo. Legal aid is there to help you when you hit rock bottom. If you are at rock bottom call a solicitor with legal aid access...

They can get a court to intervene if the situation is serious. Don't do this lightly. But if you have real problems then get in touch with them.

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