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Please advise me how to respond to this situation

(17 Posts)
HarHer Wed 30-Dec-15 08:04:05

I apologise for posting so frequently. However, I need a little advice. I have two teenage sons (14 and 16). The boys have been on a Child Protection Plan due to emotional abuse by their father. The boys' father and I separated shortly before the Child Protection Conference took place. My youngest lives with my husband (his father) because the boy was abusive towards hie older, disabled, brother.
Children's Social Care have been very concerned about the relationship between my youngest and his father. There have been incidents where one has hit the other and my husband persistently phones services to say he cannot cope and wants my son taking into care. Our social worker applied for accommodation and this was approved and my husband and I were asked to consider placing my youngest into foster care under a (voluntary) section 20 agreement. However,my youngest is absolutely opposed to going into care and confronted the social worker threatening to hurt him if he suggested it again. Meanwhile, I have been giving my youngest refuge from his father (who is still emotionally abusive to him) and my husband refuge from my son by offering my youngest a lot of time at my house. This has led to increased contact between my two sons and my eldest son has been experiencing psychotic episodes partly as a result of this.

Yesterday our social worker and his Manager came to visit me. I thought they were coming to discuss how we coped over Christmas and maybe to talk more about the Section 20. However, the Manager said that his team felt no progress was being made in our case and CSC were going to drop it. He said the lead social worker felt like he was simply firefighting. I asked about the Section 20 and he said if I did not agree to it no Care Order would be sought because my youngest was 14 and would be out of the system soon. I told him that i could see the benefits of fostering for my youngest, but I could not see how it would work if my son was so vehemently opposed to it. He told me he understood that but he had a placement in mind that would be available within two days and he wanted me to make a decision. I asked about the Child Protection Plan and the Manager told me that there was no Child Protection issue because my husband and I had separated and my eldest, most vulnerable, child did not live with his brother or father. I am afraid at that point I became confused and angry so I asked if they would leave so that I could talk things over with my husband and make an informed decision.

I am still angry and confused. What I have interpreted from the conversation is: the Local Authority do not want to waste resources on challenging teenagers. The Local Authority have kept our children on an ineffective Child Protection Plan when parental separation and the removal of the victim of abuse to a place of safety rendered the Plan unnecessary. The Local Authority are willing to let a 14 year old boy live with a man who plainly cannot cope and who is abusive towards him, physically and emotionally. They are also willing to let a vulnerable adult (my husband has Asperger's syndrome) live with an increasingly aggressive and controlling teenager. The Local Authority (please excuse my repetition) see no Child Protection issues in this situation and have placed me in an impossible situation where I need to give respite to a boy who is both victim and perpetrator of abuse whilst protecting his brother who cannot cope with prolonged contact with this boy.

In addition, I strongly suspect the Local Authority know the Section 20 will not be agreed upon (my son has already stated his views) and they will not issue a Care Order. Rather, they will simply withdraw their services and let us sink.

I am sorry about the extensive detail and length of this post. I am really confused and just need someone to tell me how to respond.

Clare1971 Wed 30-Dec-15 20:59:29

I'm not sure if I've understood all this correctly - are you saying that if your younger DS does not go into a foster placement then social care are going to drop the case completely? This sounds absolutely terrible. Can you get legal advice? I don't know what the answer is but if younger DS cannot live with you because of older DSs vulnerability and father cannot cope with him then maybe you'll have to agree to the section 20? Is there an alternative? Any other relatives? I'm so sorry you're going through this. Wish I could think of something more positive to say.

HarHer Thu 31-Dec-15 07:02:08

Hello Clare,

Yes, I think this is what they are saying. However, I don't know exactly what this means. It could mean that Children's Social Care cease to be involved with either child. This worries me because my eldest child has an Education, Health and Care Plan which states his care needs. Also, I need help to manage the respite that I give and I see the outreach provided by CSC as having a vital role in this. We have no other relatives who could look after either boy - they are challenging in their own ways.

marcopront Thu 31-Dec-15 07:31:40

What do you want to happen? I don't understand the terminology but there seem to be three possibilities.
1) younger son lives with his Dad - this isn't working
2) younger son lives with Mum and older brother - won't work
3) younger son is fostered - he doesn't want this.

What else can happen?

rainbowstardrops Thu 31-Dec-15 07:39:36

I don't have any expertise of this kind of thing but it sounds like an impossible situation.

As marco said, those are the three options seemingly available. I suppose a fourth option could be that older ds lives somewhere else temporarily???
I appreciate that I don't know the circumstances and so this might not work either.

2015nearlyover Thu 31-Dec-15 08:44:45

Hello OP. I'm sorry your family are in this situation. Are you saying that social services have identified a foster carer who your son could be placed with? If so, are they prepared to take him for an introductory chat with the carers? I am a foster carer and we looked after a boy for quite some time who was section 20. He was very much against going into care but his social workers brought him to our home for a visit and he changed his mind and decided to come and live with us for a while. It was a really good fit and worked well.

Pythonesque Thu 31-Dec-15 08:47:38

It sounds like the fostering option needs to be tried before it is given up on in this case. Perhaps you need to tell your youngest son that it is not a choice, he is to try the placement and see how it actually goes.

Is it realistic to suggest to him that this placement would be a stepping stone to actually being able to live with you and his brother, or does that look unlikely?

HarHer Thu 31-Dec-15 10:10:53

The lead social worker has just been to see me. He said because both parents do not agree to the S20 it won't be enforced. He said the Child Protection Plan is going t end and there are no child protection issues. He is going to prepare a report. My husband is delighted and is talking about us living together. i just see a return to the situation that caused all this in the first place. I feel totally let down.

My husband brought my youngest son to me this morning and they were arguing. My youngest said my husband had pinned him to a wall and shouted at him just before he came. He threw a chair towards my husband whilst the social worker was here and my eldest was on the stairs listening.

I have given up my job, moved to a different town and been scrutinised by services through this, and in the end, Children's Social Care have given up on us.

Clare1971 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:12:22

I don't understand how social care can witness something like you've described and say there is no child protection issue. Are you making it look as if you are coping do you think? Would family therapy help? If you are considering moving back in together perhaps you could ask social care to provide family therapy during the transition period. I'm clutching at straws for you here.

ImperialBlether Fri 01-Jan-16 19:18:47

Why on earth would you consider reuniting with your husband if he's emotionally abusive towards his younger son?

What do you think would be the best solution?

tokoloshe2015 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:29:25

Surely getting your son into his placement is not your problem?

If you think fostering is the best (or least worst) option, then why not give your consent? Then it's up to the social work team to make a plan.

I am going to be very blunt, and please don't think that it is because I am minimising the difficulties of the situation. It reads as if you are saying that your son cannot live with you or his father for his safety and that of your other son. But you won't give permission for him to live somewhere else?

Chippednailvarnish Fri 01-Jan-16 19:33:12

My husband is delighted and is talking about us living together

I'm sorry if I'm not understanding this, but you remain married to a man who physically fights with your son? But you present your husband as the vulnerable party and don't seem to show any insight as to why your youngest child might be feeling rejected and is fighting going into foster care.
Why don't you live with your younger son and your husband live with your elder? At least that might offer the younger protection from your husband and your elder son protection from your youngest son.

Samantha28 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:44:23

I agree with 2015 nearly over .

Say that you agree to the placement and take your son to visit the FC. See if he could go there Monday to Friday and home to his dad's at the weekend . They might get on better if they are together less .

I agree that you providing respite to your Dh isn't working as its putting your older son at risk .

If you don't agree to CS plan now, they will withdraw and wait for your son to offend or truant from school or assault his brother or father more seriously or assault a teacher . Then it won't be a voluntary placement any more . And he might end up in a residential unit , which would be REALLY bad.

Also it's quite hard to get a foster care placement for a 14 yo boy who has been violent towards adults and other children . So I'd grab this one while you can.

There's not a lot of other options. Theres little therapy available for violent teens as no one wants to do it and they usually won't cooperate .

HarHer Fri 01-Jan-16 21:16:24


Thank you for the advice. It is good to have other points of view to consider. I tend to get lost in it all. My youngest does not want to go to a foster family, but I can see the situation between my son and my husband getting worse.

Yesterday morning I sent an e-mail to the lead social worker telling him that I consent to the voluntary fostering but it needs to be planned and arranged sensitively. I think my husband, sooner or later, will also consent. Hi behaviour is getting more unpredictable.

If it is possible, I would like the situation between my two sons to stabilise so that they can live with me.

Samantha28 Fri 01-Jan-16 21:25:24

Of course you want them to live with you, I understand that. But sadly you cannot control your 14 year old son and if it's not safe for your older son, you can't risk it .

I'm so sorry. It's very hard when our teenagers and adult children make poor choices that mess up their own lives, as well as the lives of others .

HarHer Fri 01-Jan-16 21:48:59


Yes, you are right. He cannot live with me at the moment. However, if the fostering can be arranged sensitively and he can, somehow, agree to it, then we can work on ways by which he may, eventually be able to live with me and his brother. My husband is very vulnerable, but I don't think his behaviour will change.

I just hope we get the chance to formalise our consent within the next week or so.

Clare1971 Fri 01-Jan-16 22:26:28

It sounds to me as if you're doing the very best you can. Keep hopeful but be practical. Hope things improve soon.

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