Social Worker problem

mancmum
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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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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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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
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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
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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

E **83
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Re: Social Worker problem

Postby E **83 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:57 am

I have been with my partner nearly nine montbs but dated for a bit to before hand he's been out a year now did a jail sentence of five-year and on licence for 10 years he got done for manslaughter when starting to date we notified probation as it was on his licence conditions and phone child services are selves child services then contacted probation and was happy I was safeguarding my children so probation granted us two nights over night and could see each other when we wanted I have three children which they knew about we have done everything correctly I am 33 weeks pregnant and we told probation and trial services everything was fine we put a letter back in March asking to up a night and when baby is born we was thinking of moving in together last month we got a phone call saying he has to stay away from my children and myself well they do a risk assessment I see social services now every week they have admitted it's their fault that the investigation didn't get carried out right at the beginning but now they are saying that he cannot be at the child's birth because it is high risk only got 7 weeks left even though probation was supposed to been handed over months ago and he would have gone down to medium risk he's not refunded touch the drop of alcohol as every instant was alcohol related he's got a job to we said we are willing to work with social services and do whatever they need to do so we can be a family I got a phone call last night saying it's going to PLO I'm going to draw a contract up for him not to come to the house or near my children or the childbirth and to seek legal advice but in her next breath she said we want to avoid it going Court I'm so confused I've never had to deal with anything like this before please help

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Social Worker problem

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:43 pm

Dear E*83,

You and your partner have to be commended for working so well with children services and probation. He has remained alcohol free and you had been advised that you were protecting your children from him.
However, it appears that the original risk assessment has been looked at again –maybe by a senior manager- and a fresh decision has been made.
This has resulted in decisions that he cannot live with you nor be at the birth of your child. At this stage, all agencies who had input into the risk assessment(children services, probation, police) say he still is high risk. You do not say what the circumstances are around the manslaughter conviction. Was it alcohol related? Was it in a domestic setting?


The local authority have put their hands up and said they got it wrong in the first place-they were too lenient- and they also said they could have re- assessed in March which may have given you more time to accept it or for you both to challenge it. But I don’t know whether this would have been enough time for your partner to undertake any courses and support he might have needed to do before your baby was born.


Until your partner can show his risk to children is reduced or he successfully challenges the decision, it is very important that you cooperate with this decision, even though you do not agree. If you didn’t, you may be assessed as failing to protect your children and children services may escalate matters to court proceedings. As you have done before, carry on cooperating.


You both need to obtain urgent legal advice (from separate solicitors) which you can now do for free, as children services are taking the PLO route. Your partner’s solicitor could challenge the assessment and ask for a fresh risk assessment, if he thought there was a chance of it being successful.
To find a solicitor who specialises in children law, look at the Law society-find a solicitor.

The PLO route is the pre- proceedings process. It is a chance for the children services to set out why they are so worried and what you need to do to stop care proceedings happening.
It is your chance to get legal advice and make sure your views are heard and that any support you might need is given to you.

Usually there is a letter inviting you and your solicitor to a meeting where the risks will be set out, any assessments that need to take place will be discussed and the local authority will set out what their expectations of you will be.
The point is of the PLO process is the last chance to avoid going to court. So with legal advice, you will be able to make the best decisions.
Here is ouradvice sheet about care proceedings -look at page7.

If you need further advice please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie

E **83
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:56 pm

Re: Social Worker problem

Postby E **83 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:36 pm

Thank you for your reply the concerning thing is if we would not have put that letter in in March asking to open are night and was thinking of moving in none of this would have happened when he was sentenced the judge said because it was alcohol related and he didn't intend to hurt anybody accepted himself but very to reckless behaviour and attempted suicide that's another person died he's asked his other solicitor who were dealing with it at the time to get all the minutes so we could provide them to the social workers and to his new solicitor we spoke social services the other day and they think it won't go to court because we're working with them and doing everything he has already done a lot of intense courses in the five years of his jail sentence intense relationship courses courses on emotions and level 1 and 2 drugs and alcohol course as well he had intense counselling when he got let out nearly a year ago like I said not re offended or showed any signs of depression and still up with medications he had in December and mental health assessment they stated he was low risk to himself and two others but they want to carry their own out now every incident has alcohol related he got a section 39 when he was with his ex partner to his probation officer does not understand why it's going to PLO but said the risk is when he gets emotionally attached to someone that's when they can be a risk but my partner is already emotional attached to me and my children and nothing's ever happened and this is a big test with them saying
He cant be here my children or babys birth he tried to sign up for things to do with alcohol but because he's not touched a drink for six years they will not take him on he's said he do drugs and drink test every week and as far as a relationship side will have a support worker the thing is we feel we have done everything correctly notifying people when was in the relationship notifying people when I was pregnant asking for permission and been granted we have got proof that social services spoke to probation and was happy I was safeguarding my children and had meetings with probation myself and they was happy for A*** to stay overnight and be around me at my children and have a relationship but because I put a letter in in March because that's what we have to do they have overlooked it and admitted they should have done the risk assessment when we spoke to them right at the beginning

A*** edited by Suzie for confidentiality

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Social Worker problem

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:58 pm

Dear E**83

Thank you for your further post.

It is clear that you are very upset about the current situation with regarding children’s services and the delay that has been caused by their failure to carry out an early assessment.

You say in your post that once you gave information to the different agencies it was confirmed that you were safeguarding your children. As a result you feel let down after being honest and open about your relationship. As stated in the previous post, children’s services admitted they failed to do the appropriate assessment at the early stage. There is not very much that can be done to stop them doing it now, they do have the right to review a case and take action if it was not done.

I can understand your frustration that if you had not written a letter this situation would not have arisen. This may or may not be correct but I suggest you try to move on from this and work with children’s services as they carry out the assessments now. Both you and you partner have been doing the right thing in cooperating so it is important that as frustrating as the situation is you continue to do so now.

Hopefully once the assessments have been completed you and your partner will have the outcome that you need. Regarding your partner being at the baby’s birth, my advice would be that you ask the social worker to put in writing the reasons he cannot be at the birth. He will not be with you on your own as medical staff will be on hand. Perhaps you could both agree a plan with the hospital and children’s services for him to be able to attend. Put a request in writing to the social worker about this and, as stated, asked for a written response.

The social worker should have given you information about what assessment is being carried out. I suggest you read Child protection procedures and Family support for more information.

If you partner has evidence of the work he has done to address drugs and alcohol he should make this available including information by the drug and alcohol tests that are carried out you say on a regular basis. It is also important that he continue to work with his mental health support.

Previously you said that children’s services was going for PLO meeting, if this happened you would have had the benefit of a solicitor attending at the meeting. PLO does not have to lead to court proceedings it is the opportunity for children’s services to say what needs to happen to prevent going to court and to offer support to the family to help them to meet any outstanding requirements.

I hope this is helpful but if you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Best wishes

Suzie


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