My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Poppy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:25 pm

My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby Poppy » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:10 pm

My son went into a group care home at the age of 15 in June of 2013 under Section 20. His behaviour and distress was something that caused us great concern and we couldn't deal with it at home. He was kicked out of his secondary school (they wouldn't say "excluded" as it doesn't look good for their figures, but it was made clear he could not return). He has had problems with OCD, depression, anxiety, self-harming and was bulllied online and at school. After involvement with CAMHS and a teen assessment centre, it was recommended that a residential treatment placement was the best option; and we agreed. We were entirely unfamiliar and naive with the world of care homes, social workers, assessments, etc. and never expected that our son wouldn't be allowed home occasionally. Beginning late last summer (Aug 2014) my husband and I had a few meetings with my son's therapist (a part-time psychologist at the care home). She said it was a precursor to our son being allowed home visits. I remember she said she thought he'd certainly have a home visit by Christmas and I laughed and said "I certainly hope so" because I was thinking more in time for his birthday in October. Anyway, at the end of these sessions, I asked her when he could visit home and she replied "I don't think it's a good idea"! My husband and I were stunned. We asked a few questions; she told us to go home and think about it and said that if we did take him home for a visit, he would still always have a place there. Understand we were talking about a day visit home, not even an overnight or extended visit home. We had made it clear at every LAC and interim meeting that we did not agree with our son not being allowed home (certainly after several months to a year there), that it would be great for him to see his home, pets, extended family, bedroom, know that he is still a much loved and missed part of the family, that it was detrimental to his well-being to never be allowed home, that he did not come from a background of abuse or neglect, etc (Our son has said he feels like he's being punished and has no say; he is very unhappy). His therapist's argument was that his being back home even for a short while may trigger emotions of the difficulties and upset my son felt when he was at his worst and that this would set back his therapy. I assured her we thought it unlikely that would happen - it would only be for a few hours, his bedroom has been redecorated and most of his things were in his room at the care home anyway, that he wouldn't be left alone to have time to stew over things, etc etc. My husband and I did as the psychologist suggested, went home and thought about it and decided that we WOULD bring our son home for a day anyway. I emailed the psychologist first thing the next morning to tell her our decision. All hell broke loose! The psychologist/therapist notified my son's social workers that we were planning to remove him against advice. His social worker was out sick, but her co-worker, some sort of advocate for teens who talks with my son, rang me and we talked at length. He reported back to his supervisor, she asked us to wait until a meeting could be held at my son's care home. She called the meeting but did not show up herself; my son's other social worker and the advocate came. Here's what it boils down to: the social workers say they have the final say but have to go on the advice of the psychologist/therapist. The care home and psychologist say they go by what the social workers say. If the psychologist/therapist says "it's not in his best interest" the social workers will not agree to a home visit. We were also told that if we removed our son then funding for his placement could be stopped. We are distraught and feel our hands are tied and we are responsible for our son being cut off from his home and family (Yes, we visit and take him out every couple of weeks, but that's not enough). We never realized that by agreeing that our son go to the care home for the help he needs would be a PERMANENT placement and that he'd not see his home again. He is now 17 and they are talking about the help in transitioning to an adult in need he can get. He is not a young child any longer, he's a young man who is frustrated in not being able to make decisions for himself. He does not come from a deprived or abusive home. So, thoughts please! I feel like they've got him and they're not going to let him go and his feelings and those of his parents (my instincts have told me he needs to be home occasionally) count for nothing. Oh, sure they say "your feelings and wishes will be considered", but that means nothing.

ange301126
Posts: 536
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby ange301126 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:27 pm

Dear Poppy.You are fully responsible for your son until he is eighteen and you must decide what you think is in his best interests not the sw's or the psychologist.You can return him home anytime you want to by rescinding the S20.
If you feel there are medical(psychological) issues ,you will have to take the psychologist's opinion into account .You also have to take your son's views into account.
You may also request a second psychological opinion.

If the psychologist thinks it will put his health in danger to go home, they will need some sort of court order to stop you taking him home.

I suggest you go and see the psychologist again to check what information was provided about his home life by the CS. It may be they told a cock and bull story.Or why would a home-visit with a view to rehabilitation not be in his interests?

Poppy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:25 pm

Re: My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby Poppy » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:13 pm

Thanks for your reply! May I ask what you mean by CS? Also, my son's psychologist will tell us nothing, saying it's confidential. Thanks again!

ange301126
Posts: 536
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby ange301126 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:39 am

CS stands for Children's Services ( social workers). .it sounds fishy if the psychologist won't keep you informed about your own son and his condition.The FRG has a helpline which you can ring if you wish.
I advise you to write down and date everything which is said and done.

dvsurvivor
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:57 pm

Re: My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby dvsurvivor » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:15 am

Just reading through this post, how utterly distressing and upsetting for obviously kind,careing, loving parents to go through this. My son was under a sc.20 for his out of control behaviour but he came home after 6 weeks in care. He was with a lovely kind,careing family. And we all worked well together. We have MST therapy in place which is working well.
Surely you are entitled to all of your sons records under the data protection act. Im not sure how it works as he is over 16, your son might have to sign the letter(which you can download and get printed). Were he gives his consent for all medical records, physcological records to be released and for you to have copies. You can also do this with social services department.
Good luck x

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: My LAC teen son STILL not allowed day visits home!

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:47 am

Hi Poppy,

Thanks for letting us know what is happening with your son. I can see that is must be very distressing not being kept fully informed about your sons care plan. I am glad he is on board with you.

Dv survivor mentioned getting copies of your son’s records from the psychologist. Because of your son’s age, as DV survivor says, your son is now nearly an adult it would be up to him whether or not anyone else can access his medical records. If he wanted to, then here’s our advice sheet about access to records.

In relation to your son’s accommodation, once a child is 16 then the law says only the child himself can take himself out of accommodation.
Has your son got access to an advocate who can help him negotiate with children services? If not, you could speak to CoramVoice.

Even though your parental responsibility is limited, please do not feel powerless. Your input into your sons care plan and support of your son is so important and crucial in relation to him coming home.

Best wishes,
Suzie


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