Help/Advice Appreciated

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:32 pm

We are currently in the process of moving house due to issues with our current landlord concerning damp and electrical problems. As a result of this, our local environmental health officer contacted social services as he was concerned with our living conditions. We have three children at home - my two sons aged 16 and 17 and our daughter aged 4. I am currently also just over 19weeks pregnant.

They have been out a total of four times last week so far -
once on Tuesday 13th Feb when they arrived unannounced while my two teenage sons were caring for our 4yr old as my partner and I were shopping for food. My 16yr old son refused them access until we returned ... to which they threatened to call the police to gain entry. They gained access after my partner and I returned home and the police attended (I was furious that they had threatened my son while I was unavailable and would not let them in without police as witnesses)
once on Wednesday 14th Feb which was an arranged visit after the previous afternoon.
twice on Friday 16th Feb. Both times unannounced. The first being an early morning call as I was getting ready to go out and again mid afternoon.

...............................................

On the first visit, the social workers left us with a list of four things to do before the arranged visit the next day. These were tidying my 4yr olds bed (which at the time was covered with clothes I was preparing to pack up that night ready for moving), cleaning the cooker and worktops (which were covered with food/utensils as we were getting sorted to cook our evening meal), ensuring there was adequate food for the children (the social worker had not even looked in the pantry or herb/spice cupboard on the first visit so did not know if we had food in the house) and tidying the bathroom.

All four of these were completed before the second visit, and the two social workers that turned up on the second day seemed happy with what they saw when they left. The only two issues they mentioned was the outside of the kettle could "do with a wipe down" and the books on a shelf behind my daughters' bed looked dangerous (as if they could fall on her)

We were told after the 14th Feb visit that we would be contacted within 45 days to be told the outcome, so were surprised when two more social workers turned up Friday morning. I refused them access Friday morning as we were due to leave the house as soon as we were all ready for an appointment, and they had suggested Monday 19th as a date instead. However, my appointment was cancelled so I had not left the house. As a result, I was in when they returned Friday afternoon - although I was by then working (I work from home).

They again (Friday afternoon) asked to be allowed access. Which was refused as I was working. So my partner talked to them on the doorstep instead.

...............................................

While they were talking to my partner on the doorstep, they have told him that they have concerns for the children, although they would not expand on this. This is completely different to what their initial concern was (housing) and to begin with there were no concerns with the children themselves.

I am now under the impression that I am being victimised and also harassed by social services.
[*]Why did they call by, not once but twice without an appointment in one day? Are they trying to catch me out in something? Especially as they had (themselves) suggested next week instead?
[*]Why are they changing the reason for their involvement without explanation?
[*]Why the sudden interest in my family? Do they believe that my home-schooling my teenage children is a child protection matter?
[*]Why do they believe that they can just turn up unannounced and gain access to my house?

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:31 pm

'I am now under the impression that I am being victimised and also harassed by social services.' - you are; it's what they do. They create many many victims among children and parents.
'Are they trying to catch me out in something?' - Yes. they're probably trying to get a random impression of what your household is like at any given moment, and then if they catch any small shortcoming (as if every family in the land doesn't have them), they'll store it as ammunition.
'Why are they changing the reason for their involvement without explanation?' - as an outfit, they don't know what they're doing from day to day, they make it up as they go along.
'Do they believe that my home-schooling my teenage children is a child protection matter?' - almost certainly, yes, because it's against the norm and you've lifted your children outside state control in a major way, even though your motives are no doubt good, but they believe they are the professionally-qualified experts and that they know better on what's good for your kids, even though their own family lives are probably a disaster.
'Why do they believe that they can just turn up unannounced and gain access to my house?' - they're able to function on the edge of the law.
Constructive advice: all you can do is ensure your home is as clean and well-run as possible at all times, and that your children are as healthy and happy as possible, and getting well-educated. If they catch a moment of 'bad health' or discontent from your children (as if every every family doesn't have them), then ensure you have a good explanation an that the matter is being addressed, or else they'll flag you up because they clearly do have it in for you at this stage. Also - very important - keep a written record of every visit or communication you've had from them, especially quoting them on every time they say there is 'no concern' or 'things look fine', or else these things are liable to be conveniently forgotten by them if their involvement escalates after a string of their errors and suspicions.

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:13 pm

It just seems so unfair!!

Just turning up any time they want and demanding entry (threatening to call the police if we say no) cannot be legal can it?? I mean ... they've been in, we did the things they told us to do, they've seen all three children. Aren't they ever going to make an appointment??

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:03 pm

bumping for advice please xx

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:12 pm

Dear Babyman5781,

I am sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

I can see that an environmental health officer made a referral to children’s services as they were concerned about your living conditions. You are currently in the process of moving house.
Children services have started an assessment and visited your home on a number of occasions. You are concerned that the reason for the assessment seems to be changing and they indicated to your partner that they were worried about your children.
The social worker has also tried to come into your home, when you were out and you have not given them access at other times.

From what you say in your post, it seems that you have not been given any information about why they are carrying out the assessment and what concerns they have. Is that right? They also seem to be quite oppressive towards your son, demanding that he let them in.
So understandably you are feeling victimised and probably anxious about their involvement.

Children services do not have the power to come into your home uninvited. They need either your agreement or a court order. However, the police do have powers in exceptional circumstances, for example, to save life and limb.

During an assessment, a social worker is expected by law to see the child. If a parent does not agree, then usually they will visit again (often with a manager) to ask again to see the child. As part of asking to come into your home I would expect them to indicate why they want to and what they might be worried about.
Depending on their worries, they can consider seeking a court order to allow them to see a child. However, to obtain an emergency order, they would need to show the court that they suspect your children are in danger.


Maybe if you had been given more information, you may have been much happier to cooperate with the assessment. So ask them why they are worried and where they got their information. To avoid matters escalating I would recommend cooperating.

Here is some information about assessments .

Your questions are very important and you should direct them to the social worker directly.

When they have completed their assessment, they should take you through the report. You can ask that they amend any incorrect facts and challenge any opinions and ask that your views are reflected in the report.
I hope this helps but if you need further advice, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.


Best wishes,
Suzie

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:32 pm

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Dear Babyman5781,

I am sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

I can see that an environmental health officer made a referral to children’s services as they were concerned about your living conditions. You are currently in the process of moving house.
thanks for responding :) xx
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Children services have started an assessment and visited your home on a number of occasions. You are concerned that the reason for the assessment seems to be changing and they indicated to your partner that they were worried about your children.
that is correct ... although no assessment has been started as yet (they have been twice more since I first posted)
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:The social worker has also tried to come into your home, when you were out and you have not given them access at other times.
there have been a total of six different social workers so far (they have come in 2s) ... we have let them in almost every time, although my teenage sons' are under instructions to not allow anyone entry unless we are at home and there have been times when they had to return later as we were either on our way out or I was working

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:From what you say in your post, it seems that you have not been given any information about why they are carrying out the assessment and what concerns they have. Is that right?
they have given us no info whatsoever ... they were meant to be posting out a complaints procedure form too (after the last visit) which has not arrived

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:They also seem to be quite oppressive towards your son, demanding that he let them in.
So understandably you are feeling victimised and probably anxious about their involvement.
yes, on their first visit ... he said both myself and my partner were out and that he wouldn't let them in, they threatened him with the police

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Children services do not have the power to come into your home uninvited. They need either your agreement or a court order. However, the police do have powers in exceptional circumstances, for example, to save life and limb.
can you give me links to where this is written please?

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:During an assessment, a social worker is expected by law to see the child. If a parent does not agree, then usually they will visit again (often with a manager) to ask again to see the child.
they have seen all three children on each visit so far
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:As part of asking to come into your home I would expect them to indicate why they want to and what they might be worried about.
we have had no info at all
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote: Depending on their worries, they can consider seeking a court order to allow them to see a child. However, to obtain an emergency order, they would need to show the court that they suspect your children are in danger.
again ... can I have a link to where this info is available please?
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Maybe if you had been given more information, you may have been much happier to cooperate with the assessment. So ask them why they are worried and where they got their information. To avoid matters escalating I would recommend cooperating.
as I have said ... they have been allowed entry almost every time they have turned up (with the exceptions I have stated above). We are cooperating as much as we can under the circumstances, bearing in mind we have been given no details of any concerns at all so far

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote: Here is some information about assessments .
thanks for this :)

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Your questions are very important and you should direct them to the social worker directly.

When they have completed their assessment, they should take you through the report. You can ask that they amend any incorrect facts and challenge any opinions and ask that your views are reflected in the report.
if we had been given more than the basic main switchboard telephone number (an email address or extension number etc...) we would have done ... as it is, we have no way of knowing who it is that is meant to be dealing with us OR how to contact them directly
Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:I hope this helps but if you need further advice, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.


Best wishes,
Suzie
thanks again for your help so far xx

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:15 pm

Dear Babyman5781,

Here is government guidance Working Together 2015 .
It sets out the principles of social work assessments and how interventions (such as coming into the home and taking urgent court action to protect children) are managed. Please see pages 27, 28 and 31 which should answer your questions.

I suggest you read through our advice sheet about child protection . It explains the assessment process and different possible outcomes. You should also look at your local child protection protocol on the website of your local authority or on your local safeguarding board website.

Given the amount of times they have visited you, in such a short period of time, suggests they do have concerns about your children. It is crucial that you understand what those concerns are so that you can address them or ask for support.

The working together guidance talks about transparency which means that the social worker lets the family know (unless there are exceptional reasons not to) exactly what worries them. Ask the social worker why they are worried and what else you can do.
However, I can see that you are cooperating with the assessment, letting the social workers into your home, are letting them speak to your children alone and are complying with their requests.

You say you want to complain. Sometimes complaints in the early stages of an assessment do not help as you have to continue working with the social workers and complaints can muddy the water. Can the complaint be delayed until after the assessment has been completed? Here is our advice sheet about complaints .

I suggest you call our advice line on 0808 801 0366 to get detailed advice about your situation.

Best wishes,

Suzie

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:53 pm

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Given the amount of times they have visited you, in such a short period of time, suggests they do have concerns about your children. It is crucial that you understand what those concerns are so that you can address them or ask for support.
They haven't really been that many times tbh Suzie ...
The first time, two turned up when myself and my partner were out. They threatened my teenage son with the police as he refused them access, but when my partner and I returned home they were allowed in with the police as witnesses. They saw/met all three children at this time.
The next day, the second two came (arranged time) to ensure we had done what the first two had told us needed doing. They told us that what they saw was OK and that we would be contacted in due course by the ones who would do the assessment ... within 45 days. Again, they saw/met all three children.
The third (Friday) visit, the third pair turned up unannounced, presumably to start the assessment, when I was getting ready to go out to a pre-arranged meeting. They said that they would return at a later date, suggesting early the next week. The meeting was cancelled at the last minute, so we ended up staying in. They returned later that same day (again unannounced) on the off-chance I was in. They were refused access due to my working at that time, but were able to see my youngest child at the doorstep.
They have turned up once more since then on the 19th Feb... an unannounced visit when I was busy with a conference call for work. They were asked to give me time to finish the call so waited in their car for 15mins and were then allowed access to the home and the children. We were told that they were looking to start an assessment, but not why. Also that they would be sending us leaflets detailing their involvement and also their complaints procedure.

Since then, there has been no contact whatsoever. Surely, if there were any concerns, they would have made an effort to begin any assessment they deemed necessary in the last (almost) 2weeks??

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:19 pm

Hi babyman5781,

The assessment started after they received the referral from environmental health. Those visits and seeing and speaking to your children, yourself and your husband were part of the assessment.
I would now be expecting them to contact any professionals such as the GP, health visitor and midwife to gather further information about you children and their needs.
Have a look at the link to assessments I put my first response to you. One aspect that you haven’t mentioned is whether they have asked about family and friend support. If you do have supportive people around you who could help out, for example, when your baby is born, then you could mention those people to the social worker.

If you have any further questions, please post again.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

babyman5781
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Help/Advice Appreciated

Postby babyman5781 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:49 pm

Suzie, FRG Adviser wrote:Hi babyman5781,

The assessment started after they received the referral from environmental health. Those visits and seeing and speaking to your children, yourself and your husband were part of the assessment.
I would now be expecting them to contact any professionals such as the GP, health visitor and midwife to gather further information about you children and their needs.
Have a look at the link to assessments I put my first response to you. One aspect that you haven’t mentioned is whether they have asked about family and friend support. If you do have supportive people around you who could help out, for example, when your baby is born, then you could mention those people to the social worker.

If you have any further questions, please post again.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

so they can start an assessment without even informing us of what their concerns are? That doesn't seem fair!!

They haven't asked about any support systems we have, or asked for us to allow them access to medical records etc... either


Return to “Are social workers worried about your child?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests