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Advice would be much appreciated

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:04 pm
by hr123
I have a son, 15 and a daughter, 18. I am a lone working parent, and am also visually impaired.
From when he was a toddler I knew that my son had social and emotional issues. At school from early on he was difficult to handle, very active and not able to focus on learning.

I have asked for help for may years and both school and psychological services could not help me or be able to tell me what was going on.

When my son was in Year 5 I managed to persuade my GP to refer him to CAMHS. He was diagnosed with ADHD but refused to take medication.

Over the next few years his behaviour became more and more difficult to manage, both at home and school. I cannot count the number of times I was called into school meetings. By Year 10 my son spent most of his time at school in isolation and detention. The focus has always been on his behaviour rather then his mental wellbeing. He was also severely bullied which was never dealt with. He has spent the last year deteriorating mentally. He has no real friends, was and still is highly anxious and more aggressive at home.

I believe that if my son had been assessed and diagnosed earlier his issues could have been addressed and we would not be in this current situation.

Basically, within the last year my son has become more and more aggressive. He was pushing me, damaging my house, spitting at me and swearing. I have asked school, CAMHS, Social Services and the police for help.

In September my son was arrested for putting a plastic bag over my head. He was in foster care for a month but didn't receive any therapy or a working diagnosis. He came home which was lovely and he promised to do 'whatever it takes' to stay at home and behave. Unfortunately things started to deteriorate again and although his violence had significantly decreased, he began to refuse to attend school, appointments and began to reverse his sleep pattern. On New Years Eve 2019 my son was arrested again for violence and charged with Common Assault towards myself. He is currently in a placement in XXX where he is doing well.

My son and I have a lovely relationship and home is a place where he feels safe to act out and be frustrated with his life. Social Services are involved and have started Public Law Outline proceedings. They have told me that I am a good mother and in no way abusive. They are concerned that I will feel guilty and let my son come home before he is ready.

As you can imagine the last few weeks have been unbearable. I believe that he should be nearer home and am heartbroken to think that Social Services think he should be in Care.

I don't want him home until he can show he can change his behaviour and deal with frustration and also able to attend school and appointments.

I would really appreciate advice on what I can do to help Alex, become emotionally stronger and handle the PLO meeting. I have a family solicitor who seems competent. My concern is that decisions are being made without my involvement and Social Services are assessing the situation without considering my son's complex needs.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Edited by Suzie to remove identifying information in accordance with our rules of use.

Re: Advice would be much appreciated

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:18 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear hr123

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum and thank you for your post.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am sorry it has taken some time for you to receive a response to your post.

From your post, you have had a difficult time with your son’s behaviour from an early age. He was diagnosed with ADHD when in year 5 but, unfortunately, his behaviour has become unmanageable over the years and this has resulted in him being arrested on two occasions because of his violence to you.

You say that you son is now away from home and doing well although you would much rather have him at home, it may be that his needs might be better met where he is placed at the moment.

In your post you ask what you can do to help your son become emotionally stronger. It may be that supporting him in his placement and letting him know that you want what is best for him. That you will always be there for him and support him as much as you can. Also, try to encourage him to engage with any support that is offered. At the beginning of your post you said when he was diagnosed in year 5 he refused to take medication. It may be that your son will be further assessed to establish his needs emotionally as well as his mental well being. It would be important for him to engage with a psychological or psychiatric assessment to ensure that he can receive any recommended help and support.

Home may be, as you say, where your son feels safe to act out but this has not so far helped his behaviour or provided for his specific needs over the years, since his behaviour has deteriorated. I suggest the best way you can help may be to encourage him to positively engage.

Regarding public law outline (PLO), you have a solicitor who will be able to advise you about the procedure and ensure that you will be heard at meetings and given the opportunity to put forward what you believe will be best for your son. Children’s services (the new name for social services) may decide to go ahead and apply to the court for a care order which would, if granted give them parental responsibility and the right to make decisions about your son. You say decisions are being made without your involvement but it appears you are able to participate in the decision making process through the PLO meeting and with the help of your solicitor.

Children’s services have a duty to consider the needs of children and since your son has a disability because of his diagnosis they should consider all his needs when making decisions about him.

You may find it helpful to read our advice sheets:-
An introductory guide to Children’s Services
Family support
Care (and related) proceedings
for more information in respect of children’s services involvement.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser about your situation, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie