Do children have the right not to speak a social worker?

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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:43 pm

Do children have the right not to speak a social worker?

Post by Fa235 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:07 pm

My children have been on a CPP for a year now. We have a review in a weeks time. The reason they are on the plan was due to my alcohol abuse. They conducted a hair strand test which the results stated although my drinking has been reduced I was still chronically excessively drinking this is not the case and by the time of the meeting I will be nearly a year sober. (I have looked into this and I would have to pay £700 to have a retest but have also been advised against this. The other advice I was given was to get them to take me to court so a judge would conduct a hair strand test and a toxicology report but this just scares me so much.

On the first plan they said I should have psychiatric assessment however, at there request I went to the doctor and my GP told me that she did not see this referral was necessary. SS have now said they want me to have the assessment but of course have not conducted in time for the review. When I asked why they are doing this nearly a year later. His response was we didn't want to overload you and cause a breakdown. It click with me until after the core meeting that this was not the case as they had requested it in March 18 when I was managing my recovery, the breakdown of my marriage, and the loss of my job working with young people (Luckily for me my employers kept me on in a different capacity until it was resolved). They have said that they are requesting this so they can find out any hidden stresses. The only stress and anxiety is caused by them turning every positive into a negative and adding extra things that I have to do.

My questions are:
Can I refuse to have a psychiatric assessment based on that they want to know more about me? (a year later!!!)

If it was to be stepped down to CIN I understand this is voluntary but is it really? (There involvement has not been supportive whatsoever, and I feel their treatment of me when I was vulnerable has been both barbaric and punitive. They told me and my family and subsequently my employers it is not IF but WHEN I relapse and the last woman they took off started drinking and died. Really how encouraging is that.
They have no understand of addiction and I had to explain to my SW what AA was which I attend weekly. However, AA is not counted in their eyes because I can only self report. Even getting a card from AA confirming my attendance is not good enough.

Do my children aged 14 and 10 have the right not speak to them? (They are so fed up with them coming every two weeks and don't understand as they know that I am not drinking and want to get on with their lives without intrusion all the time and so do I)

I get so anxious before the reviews and it feels like there is no point in saying anything as they just twist everything and accuse me of things I haven't even done.

Thanks for any advice.

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

Re: Do children have the right not to speak a social worker?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:15 pm

Dear Fa35

Thank you for posting on the parents’ discussion forum.

Your children are currently on child protection plans and you seem frustrated by the way in the case has been managed so far. Despite being on child protection you do not believe you have received support from the social worker. Our advice sheet Child protection procedures may provide you with useful information about child protection plans.

You have asked specific questions relating to a psychiatric assessment and when you can refuse to have this done. The answer is yes you can but I do not think it is advisable as it may be that children’s services are of the view that this will give them and you a better understanding of the underlying reasons for your alcohol misuse and, whether, the abstinence you have had over the last year is sustainable. It could also give an indication of what further support you might need to maintain your current position of not misusing alcohol.

It may be that it was discussed that a psychiatric assessment should be done back in March 2018 but no further action was taken because, as you have been told, they did not want to overload you. Alternatively, it may be that it was missed and not followed up.

Secondly, you ask about child in need (CIN) and whether this is voluntary. The support offered under a CIN plan is voluntary but if it is considered necessary to ensure the children’s needs are met. If the support is refused without ensuring that the same or similar support is arranged by the parent or person caring for the child, then this could be seen at putting the child or children at risk. In such a situation, children’s services could decide to start child protection procedures. Please read our advice sheet Family support

It seems surprising that a social worker does not know what AA is, bearing in mind it is well known nationally and internationally. Well, it is good that you were able to educate the social worker about it. You say that they have no understanding of addiction and this is why it might be helpful to have a psychiatric assessment by someone with expertise relating to alcohol misuse.

As the children are on child protection plans the social worker has to make statutory visits. Whilst I understand that your children do not like having the involvement it is part of the process. Perhaps at the review meeting you could for the visits to be reduced but they will not stop whilst the plan is in place. The social worker is there to monitor and support the children whilst the plan is in place. They children can speak to the social worker about their feelings regarding the visits.

You say that things are twisted when you attend reviews. It might be helpful if you put in writing what you want to say and provide copies for the professionals attending the meeting. It is also possible for you to have someone (perhaps a member of your family or trusted friend) attend the review to support you.

Should 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.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


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