EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to expect

Nanny G
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Nanny G » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:28 pm

Thank you Suzie,

SW came yesterday, and spent 2 hours going on about how he had said this in his report and therefore that was his word! It appears he has no intention of 're assessing' us and was only here due to being told to by court. He argued al the way with us, in his opinion, the fact he gave us 24 hours notice of his initial visit, means we knew we were being assessed and therefore our house should have been spotless and childproof. The fact, that with time, we have now cleared the items out of our spare room (potential child's room) and made the house better, is irrelevant to him.
He is South African, and i am actually doubting his correct understanding of the English Language as he appears to be taking what we have said and changing it round to mean something different. He is changing and perhaps 'misunderstanding' what we have said and is accusing us of knowing what we didn't, and refusing to accept what we say we didn't know .
He kept saying how i was made aware of the issues with my Son at a recent FGC. I have the notes and his report from that and having read them all again it does not mention in there what risks my son posed. It focused on the mother, her inappropriate relationship with her new b/f, who she was saying she was splitting up with, how if she did this and kept to it, things would look up, but based on her history of lack of engagement with professionals they were dubious she would. It went on to say how the good points were that my son and the mother were now starting to work together as co parents, which was the direction they wanted things to go in, and that Mother had put her grievances behind her and was allowing my son full days contact starting that w/e.... it does not say my son posed a risk at any point. SW however is adament it did and because of that, i was aware of the situation and am negligent for not telling them (CS) what i (didnt) know...

He didnt get all the way through our notes to the court, so is coming back again tomorrow (Friday) to finish. I am absolutely dreading it!
NG

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:00 pm

Dear Nanny G

Thank you for your further updating post.

I am sorry that your meeting was the social worker did not go as well as you expected and you have been left feeling frustrated on confused by what he said to you.

It is not clear why you think someone from South Africa would not have a clear understanding of the English language as you have not given any example of the sort of things he has said out of context or twisted around. If it is the case that the social worker it not looking at things with fresh eyes and his further assessment is negative then this is something that can be challenged when his report if filed with the court.

As he is due to visit you again, I suggest that you have the comments you made on the original assessment to hand so you can point out what you said if the social worker is not understanding it. I see from your previous posts that you mentioned some concerns about your son’s behaviour and your hope that he would grow up and be able to care for his child. This may be why the social worker takes the view that you were aware of the risk he poses. If that is not the case, then you should say exactly what you did know and what the social worker actually told you. If you are having difficulties with the social worker, I think it is important that you inform your solicitor or your son’s solicitor of your concerns.

When meeting with the social worker try not to come across as defending your son as this might lead him to believe that you may not be a good protective factor for your grandchild as you will let you son have free rein. Make sure that you talk about your granddaughter and how important it is for her to be is a safe and stable environment, which you can provide. Also, the importance of her remaining within her birth family.

At the same time you have try to be balanced in what you say about the mother as if it seems that you have an entrenched view about her, this might be seen as an inability of you being able to facilitate contact with the mother if the child lives with you. If both parents have issues then you must talk about the mother and your son’s difficulties.

I do hope that the next visit will go well. It will help if you also have an open mind and see the social worker with fresh eyes. Treat this as if it is the very first time you are being assessed. Knowing what you do know now means that it should be easier for you to cope with the social worker and his questions. Being open and cooperative is the best way to engage with social worker. What you want is to look after your grandchild so do not come across as defensive with the social worker.
I hope that you will find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Nanny G
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Nanny G » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:18 pm

Hello Suzie,
Thank you for replying. Having just re read my post i realise it may perhaps have sound a bit racist as i was so frustrated with the Social worker and my comment about him possibly not having a good understanding of the English language. It was by no means intended to come across like that, it is all quite complicated and i will try to explain a little what i mean. I was a single parent to my son until he was 12 when i met my now partner. My son had always been very close to me and almost 'possessive' right down to telling me i wasnt allowed a boyfriend unless they were approved by him. When i met my partner my son was just coming up to 12, and whilst the two of us were quite happily ticking along together, the 'invasion' of another male for my attention in his life pushed my son into very bolshy behaviour and became quite argumentative with me. My partner seeing this, started to discuss it with me and we both concluded my son needed more discipline than i had been giving him and i agreed to my partner taking over the male role in this respect. Obviously my son was not happy at this, and many arguments were had.
Well, my son in a previous parenting assessment described his childhood after my partner came to live with us as 'horrible' and described it as abusive. Obviously this was questioned in our assessment and we explained our side of how we saw it and what went on. I explained to the SW that i did find it very hard, where my son was trying his best to drive a wedge between myself and my partner and as much as i knew my son needed the discipline, it was hard for me when my son was bickering continually about my partner along the lines of 'hes not my dad he cant tell me what to do' . This was translated by the SW as my saying i felt 'my life had been invaded when my partner came to live with us'... that was NOT what i said. There are several other, almost picky things, where he has changed it slightly, where one word means one thing and another similar but slightly different word which puts a whole different twist on what was said.
My son has since said to me, in the last week, that he actually only said it was as bad as it was, as he was still speaking to the Mother, and she had such an issue with my partner and that she wanted to be made to sound better so it was 'decided' he would make it sound worse than it was. He also said he was going to tell the SW this. My response to him was, that it was entirely up to him whether he said so or not, i did not want him to feel guilty or sorry, and that if he had felt his childhood was abusive, again i could only apologise, as that was not how i saw it. However he said, no, it was an unfair comment, that he needed the discipline as he was quite rude and he appreciated that my partner brought him back in line and taught him to respect me as his mother.

The SW seems convinced i was part of the lies all along, and seems to refuse to hear me when i say, that i had no idea it was as bad as it was. I understand their concerns, i completely understand the feeling that they have been lied to all round for so long and are obviously quite 'sore' making them wary of the situation, however i was not as aware as even i thought i was, and was promised by my son that whilst he was meeting with the mother, it was all amicable, child focused and only on occasions for brief amount of time, then more recently 'he had stopped seeing her now'... it appears we were all lied to in the same way. Yes, i am still hoping my son will grow up and be able to take care of his daughter. He is physically more than capable of caring for her, but it depends how he can grow up enough to stop the silly games, and pull his mental age away from 4, to the nearly 24 that he is.

The SW came back today, we went through the notes together, while he made further notes on his copy. Both my partner and i explained to him that we didn't feel he was coming in to discuss things, more to bang on about the same things over and over again, that his attitude seemed to be quite tiresome and defensive of his original views. For instance he kept saying that the first time he came to see us, and that we knew he was coming, the house wasn't child proof enough and therefore we would not be suitable as carers. After the initial tension, things calmed down between us all and his attitude became more friendly, more like the first time we met, and we managed to establish at least on the subject of the house, that he cannot take anything for granted. Although, again we did say to him at the time he first visited, that we were in the middle of sorting things out after a busy summer for us outside re landscaping the garden, and we had now made our way into the house to sort the house out. This was said at the time of the initial assessment, however he seemed to either not hear, forget or ignore (or maybe not understand) us

However, as I say, the situation calmed down and in the second half of the time he was here today, I did at least feel he was listening to us and trying to understand our point of view. Whether he has or not, remains to be seen.

He now has to write his notes up, to be put as an addendum to the court, then it has to go to his legal team, who will clear it and release it back to him to share with us. This should be done by 5th November as that when he officially leaves the case and the new SW takes over (they are working together at the moment in the change over). He has said he will ring us next week and let us know when he will be able to come round to discuss it with us again.

Thanks for your help,
NG

Nanny G
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Nanny G » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:34 pm

Thank you Irene,
yes, as you say they are dealing with the some of the worst parents and seem to tar us all with the same brush.
the second half, of the second visit seemed to go reasonable well, and he *appeared* to be listening more to what we were saying and taking on board our points of view - however he did this in the first assessment and came back with things we had not said and misinterpreted things we did, so i am not sure what will happen. My sons solicitor has suggested i put in a written complaint on how it was dealt with, and in preparation for a further negative report to get ourselves our own legal representation as obviously working for my son he can only give us basic advice.
i don't know what to do, whether by putting in a compliant now i would rock the boat, or if it should be done. I am not happy with the way he dealt with the whole thing, regardless of outcome.
if it is negative, i will apply to become part of the court, and will have until 24th in which to put in an application, so in that sense i guess it would be good to get a solicitor ready to help so it can be done as soon as possible if it needs to be.
How do i choose a solicitor? They have to be able to do legal aid, other than that - what do i look for?
NG

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Robin D
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Robin D » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:09 pm

Go to http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/?Pro=True. In the area of practice put in 'Children', then your post-code and search. Then look at the results and find someone on the children's panel.

I'm afraid an earlier decision by FRG means we can't recommend individual solicitors, but a bit of searching the net for special guardianship case law may well reap rewards.

Given how long it takes to process a complaint, my view would be sooner rather than later, but no-one here can guarantee it will not back-fire. :( It depends on the local authority involved and also the individual workers and managers.
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Nanny G » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:12 pm

Thank you Robin,
i have made contact with a firm who has 3 solicitors on the children's panel and also have experience in SGO as well as a legal aid contract,and have sent an email explaining briefly what is going on and will wait to hear from them. Hopefully legal aid will cover it, as we cannot afford to pay :(, my sons solicitor said he thought it should do as its care proceedings and child protection, so fingers crossed.

Still not seen the updated addendum from the SW, although he did ring on Weds evening to say he had asked legal to release it as matter of urgency, but as yet had not heard back from them. The court said it had to be done by the 5th, and on file (in and out of legal) by the 10th, as far as i understand so they are running out of time.

I havent put a complaint in about SW yet, as really not sure what to do. As much as it should not backfire, and it should all go through the channels in an 'adult' manor, people are people and if they have power to change something they will if they want to. Also having had some very stern words from myself and my partner the SW has been a lot better 'behaved' since.

I am (obviously) hoping this will be a positive report this time round, however as i understand it, if it isn't, then i can apply to be party to court and, if granted, then put an application in to be assessed by an independent SW. On the other hand, if it is positive, then Sons Solicitor said i wouldn't need to be party to court, so how would it work if we were assessed positively? what happens then?
Thanks for the help,

NG

Nanny G
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Nanny G » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:58 pm

Hello,
Just an update. The addendum report came through, and not surprisingly, was yet again negative. The SW stands by his (unfounded) opinions, and by doing so is effectively calling us liars. But agrees correct a few facts we pointed out. He has, yet again, taken our words and changed them slightly but significantly enough to change the meaning/fact of what was said and also put into the addendum to the court something i had specifically asked him to keep anonymous.
To give you an example of what i mean, a conversation on the phone after the first court case with my son as follows [son] yeah she (mother) didnt get the train up there, she got a lift with b/f [me] oh really? how do you know that? [son] well when we were at court she (mother) was telling everyone how she had got the train up there and had been so scared travelling up there, {the girl is scared of her own shadow, let alone travelling on public transport alone} then when we left she followed me back to the car park and got into b/f and his brothers car and brother drove them home so she is obviously still with him. [me] did you speak to her? [son] she showed me a picture of our daughter on her phone quickly, that was all. [me] ok, have you told SW? [son] no, no i haven't. [me] well, you really should, just tell him exactly what you have told me. tell him everything, keep it all open and above board now so nothing can come back to bite you. [son] yeah, yeah i will do.. anyway i have to go now, i'll catch you later' The got to go now made me suspicious, its the way he behaves when he doesn't want to talk about something, so knowing how quickly things could escalate between the two of them and now knowing exactly how much they had been sneaking around behind CS backs, i rang the SW on his personal line and repeated to him exactly what my son had said. I also said i wanted it to remain anonymous, that i had told my son to tell him, himself, and hopefully he would. The conversation then was [sw] so if i need to put it in court documents do you want me to put it as an anonymous caller said---' [me] paused, and said, well, yes, but it will be fairly obvious where it came from if you do, hopefully my son will come to you and tell you himself and you wont need to quote me. i have told him to, lets see if he does and then before you need to put it in any documents then come back to me and i will say how i feel about it then'
now this whole conversation above has just been published in the court addendum as me ringing him and saying all this to him, and not only that, his translation of it is that i rang him and told him that my son and the mother had walked back to the car park together. I know this may sound like splitting hairs, but that is NOT what i said. It is always possible they did walk together, it is also not beyond the realms of possibility (but i think now unlikely) that my son actually drove the mother up there himself,but two people walking to the same place is not the same as two people walking together, and actually puts a different meaning on it.
As far as i know now, my son has told the SW about this, but i haven't told my son that i have as i don't want him to think he cant trust me and therefore not tell me anything else possibly more serious that i could pass on.

I am not happy, and do not feel we have been listened to or treated fairly. I do now have a solicitor who is able to give legal advice on legal aid, but as i understand, not representation in court and am as yet not sure how much help she is able to give.
In addition it was said by the court this report had to be on file, which meant it had gone through the legal dept and the SW was to come out and talk to us again to share it with us, by 10th November - i received it in the post on 14th.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:46 am

Dear Nanny G

I am glad that you have a solicitor helping you. She should be able to advise about applying to be joined as a party to the proceedings and how to respond to the social workers report.
One of the things that has come up again seems to be the social workers concern about whether you understand the risks your son might pose to your granddaughter. Also, are you strong enough to say to your son-“I will tell children services and so will call the police if you turn up to my house when I am caring for granddaughter.” There would be no ifs or buts.
Your explanation does indicate that you were aware that quite possibly your son and mum were breaching the agreement. You did completely the right thing in calling the social worker. You were protective. That is a positive in your favour. This should be emphasised.
It also shows that you are able to work with professionals.
However, you then seemed worried about your son finding out that it was you.
You need to show that you can stand up to your son. That you will call the police and children services, if he turned up at your home. That you will be clear with him.

Being educated about the risks of domestic violence

Did you also manage to look back at the social workers report for the family group conference? Did he set out the risks? Even if he had set them out, did he set it out clearly? If he didn’t it would be difficult to see what they are if you had only heard everything from your son.
Not only that, it can be difficult for anyone to look at their child’s behaviour and see it as domestic violence. Often people will make excuses to themselves and minimize it. They can’t believe it.
So your understanding could well be evolving.
Did the social worker set out expectations- ie that contact might only ever take place in a contact centre and a few times a year? That the parents may not be allowed to come to your home.
Are you able to access support to help on you understand the risks? What about courses for foster carers in your area?
Remember to set out all the positives; that you have worked to make the home environment safe for your granddaughter, that you can offer a stable and loving home and that her home will remain within the family network.
Please post back if you need further support or have any questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:58 am

Hi Robin,
I'm afraid an earlier decision by FRG means we can't recommend individual solicitors, but a bit of searching the net for special guardianship case law may well reap rewards.
After a lot of discussion (and disagreements) here at Family Rights Group (which still goes on!) we made that decision.
We are worried about the forum being used by solicitors to advertise their work and that it would place us at risk of being criticised as not being independent.
However, any user can private message anyone else with recommendations of good solicitors.
Suzie

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Robin D
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Re: EEek! Social worker coming to visit tomorrow -what to ex

Post by Robin D » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:10 pm

Thanks and I really do understand the difficulty.

I'm happy to send a personal message if the situation arises in the future.

Best wishes to all in Print House. :D
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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