Social Worker problem

mancmum
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 pm

Social Worker problem

Postby mancmum » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:25 pm

My son is in S20 foster care. As I have not been getting satisfactory information from social worker (after 7 weeks still not got care plan) I wrote an email to him, his boss and IRO setting out my desire to be included in all planning/decisions relating to my son and my intention for him to be home as soon as possible. Two days later I have had a call asking me to either phone or speak in person to social worker as he and his manager prefer working that way ! I explained that it was easier for me to email as less emotion involved and can list and think clearly. He suggested I write it all down before I phone and not to email again. What the hell. Maybe I am going mad ! but if they wont put things in writing how am I meant to remember everything, or is that the point, I'm not meant to !!!! Advice please. :shock:

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

Re: Social Worker problem

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:54 pm

Dear mancmum,

I think you were definitely right to email about not having the care plan (after so long!); asking to be involved in the decision making and your desire for your son to be returned home as soon as possible.
These are very important things and should, if possible be put in writing. They can also be raised at the looked after children (LAC) meetings.
As part of showing you can cooperate and work well with the social worker, on other less important matters, you could telephone first and only email if you have not had a response within a reasonable time.
I think reasonable time depends on what you are asking of the social worker. Often it will be giving the social worker a week to get back.
But if the matter is very urgent then you might expect a call back the same day, immediately or to speak to a manager immediately.

However, given you have memory difficulties, this needs to be taken into account. I suggest you let the social worker know this. This is a good reason to always have things in writing. Or you could suggest that the social worker agree to you recording the phone conversation-so that you can listen back to it.
Here are tips/ suggestions about working with social workers that you might find helpful.
Showing you can work well with professionals will be important, when asking for your your son to be reunited with the family.

Here is our advice sheet about Duties to children in the care system.
It has useful information about looked after children meetings, consulting parents and what should go in a care plan.
Also look at the tips on page 8 of the advice sheet about reuniting children with their family.

I hope this advice helps. Please post back if you have any further questions or need further advice.

Best wishes,

Suzie

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

Re: Social Worker problem

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:08 am

Dear Mancmum,

Welcome back to the Parent’s Board.

Since you last posted things have not moved forward substantially. Your son is still accommodated in foster care and children services are taking things along the pre-care proceedings route. There had been a PLO meeting last October but there are as yet no care proceedings and your son remains in foster care.
You have been psychologically assessed and agree with the psychologist’s opinion including his recommendation that you need to undertake a parenting course and counselling before your son returns home.

Has any of this support started? What are children services saying about the support that is being recommended?

Family Lives have very good resources about parenting teenagers and may be able to direct you to appropriate courses as well.
Did the psychologist recommend any type of counselling? If not, are you able to access this support via your GP? Or are children's services paying for this? What are the timescales for counselling and is it in your sons best interests to wait? The Children Act 1989 makes clear that any delay in making plans for children is usually not in their best interest.

Your question is about disclosure of the unedited report to dad, without your agreement. You say children services, by doing this, have put both you and your children at increased risk of being harmed by dad. I can see how this would be very worrying.

Urgently, you need to discuss the danger you are in, with your solicitor and children services. What immediate protection might you and your children need against dads violence? Should there be changes in contact, for example and are you safe living where you are? Has dad’s risk been assessed?
You should also urgently discuss your concerns with a domestic violence support organisation. Is there any protective measures you need to take? Could an IDVA (independent domestic violence advocate) help you access support to protect yourself and your children, for example?
Here are our FAQ’s about domestic violence.

The second thing to consider is whether there has been a breach of the Data Protection Act. Here is guidance for professionals about information sharing that you might find helpful. Have a look at the golden rules on page 4.
Did you know that the report would be shared with dad? Was consideration given to part of it being redacted to protect you and the children?

Often at a PLO meeting, where you would have legal representation, the types of assessments would be discussed including who would get a copy? At this meeting was anything said about reports being kept back or edited to protect you?

Your solicitor should be able to advise you about what had been agreed.

I hope this helps but please post back or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366, if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

mancmum
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 pm

Re: Social Worker problem

Postby mancmum » Mon May 07, 2018 3:47 pm

Thank you for the information. I put a formal complaint in regarding the disclosure of information to my ex as the sensitivity of this information was discussed in meetings and appeared in minutes. My complaint has been upheld but they do not feel they breached my confidentiality or the data protection act! I really haven't got the energy to keep fighting all these stupid things they do. Regarding my ex I've been advised that as he is denying DV and there is no proof or record of it there is nothing I can do at this time, but the SW did say for me to keep safe !!!
Regarding the psychological report, none of the recommendations have been put in place yet. I have contacted my Dr to refer me for the counselling (EDMR) but there is a 18 month waiting list apparently. I have found two local organisations that run the parenting teens course but neither of them start until September. I did try to discuss it with the social worker but as they were about to issue proceedings he said to wait.
Proceedings for an interim care order have now been issued and I met with the CAFCASS person who said she is going to recommend it is issued. She asked me can he come home? I said not at this time due to his aggressive behaviour. She said so care order it is then. When i said that my son hadn't been given any kind of help or counselling and neither had I she said that not everyone can be helped and what if he never changes? I said that I thought we should be given the chance but she dismissed the idea.
I don't see any benefit to the LA having more parental responsibility than me, how will this benefit him? How can a faceless organisation have a better opinion on my sons future than me? I feel as though without even trying to help us they have made their decision. Apart from when I have contacted social services to ask questions (which usually go unanswered) there has been no discussions since February. I don't even know what the plans are for my son, where he will live etc. and if the interim order goes ahead next week there is no way I can achieve the timelines for the course and counselling.
I dont understand why they started the PLO as no agreement has ever been put in place for action and I have never been asked to complete anything but they are still issuing an interim care order. I feel so let down by the whole system !

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1931
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Social Worker problem

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon May 21, 2018 12:15 pm

Dear Mancmum

Thank you for your post and apologies for not being able to respond to you before now. I am sorry to hear that the situation is still very difficult.

It seems that in relation to your complaint that whilst children’s services accept that they made mistakes in the way in which they disclosed sensitive information to your ex-partner they are stating that this was justified in your circumstances and did not result in a breach of your right to confidentiality or of the Data Protection Act. If you did want to pursue this further you could ask to progress your complaint to the next stage. However I fully understand how stressful and time-consuming this is and that you want to focus on other issues. I hope children’s services have indicated that they will handle such situations more sensitively in future.

Perpetrators of domestic violence often deny that it happens. I hope that you are able to access support from a specialist domestic violence service as suggested in my earlier response. If needed, a domestic violence worker may be able to support you with children’s services around this issue.

You have been very proactive in trying to access both counselling and parenting teens’ programmes in order to help you. You also very reasonably have highlighted the lack of specialist support or counselling offered to your son.

Your son’s case is now in court. You state that both children’s services and the Guardian are recommending an interim care order. The social worker should have prepared an interim care plan which they should have fully discussed with you and your son. I know that you feel very strongly that they have not been communicating properly with you and when you posted they had not discussed their plans with you in any detail so I hope that has been addressed now the matter is in court.

As you stated that the hearing was due the week after you posted it should already have happened by now so things may be a little clearer one way or the other. You should now have a solicitor representing you who can advise you specifically. Do make sure you discuss with your solicitor the support you need to be put in place and how to make sure that the court is fully aware of all that you have been trying to achieve and the delays/timescales for services which are impacting on you. The law is clear that help can be provided to you as well as your son if it improves his assessed safety and wellbeing.

Perhaps you would like to post back with an update about what was decided at court as you may have different questions as a result of this.

In the meantime I hope that our advice sheet on care proceedings will be of help to you. This sets out not only the processes involved but also the grounds for making a care order and how it allows children’s services to make decisions for a child, if they obtain the order.

Have you ever been offered a Family Group Conference (FGC) to help make safe plans for your son? If not, this is something to discuss with your solicitor and the social worker as it may help identify any support your family network could offer to help you care for your son or any potential family carers for your son. You can find out more in our advice sheet on family group conferences .

It is understandable that you are feeling very frustrated. However, it is really important that you continue to work constructively with your social worker and solicitor (and they with you). These tips on working with a solicitor may help.

With best wishes

Suzie


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