Need urgent advice

Lucy
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:31 am

Need urgent advice

Postby Lucy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:34 am

Hi!
I am a mum of 5, in a 15 year long relationship. i have had a long history of social services involvement and need some advice, my children have never been placed on CPP but have been through the child in need system twice,

I am going to change some minor details as im worried about what im about to say but everything will be the truth,

I have a LONG history of drug use, in fact i have used drugs for 20 years, (cannabis) I have always been honest with social services when asked about my drug use, i have never hidden anything from them and i have NEVER used drugs around my children and I am NOT their sole carer,
my middle son died in 2015 in a road traffic accident (the fault of the other driver) i was not there at the time (so was not drug driving something i would NEVER do) however when my son died my drug use escalated so i was using a LOT, in fact i was smoking all day every day,

most of the times i have been reported to social services has not been around my drug use but unsubstantiated reports from a neighbour with a grudge against me due to me making numerous complaints to the council regarding their conduct ect, they always investigated and then took no further action, except the child in need which my disabled child is by default

I have a severely disabled child, he has a rare condition, he is 13 and is non verbal and has the mental age of a 18 month old, hence the child in need involvement, they provided weekly respite and support with his care, he destroys the house on a daily basis and things did get very bad, i will admit the house was a hazard to my other children, especially when my youngest baby was born (now 18 months old)

however, when my baby was born i made substantial improvements to the house, and friends now tell me my house is very nice, and very much improved, there is a few dents in walls and floors but nothing too major and no hazards, i have spent a lot of time and effort (and money) in making sure my house was good environment for my children,

my severely disabled child has an issue with fecal smearing, and a fascination with his poo, (and his anus) relavance to this will come later

in june last year 2016, his respite was stopped due to the closure of the residential unit he was staying in (he stayed for 42 nights a year), he was deemed unable to be fostered, an assesment was done as to his level of need was done and was found to need exceptional support (all related to his health and abilities) and i was told some respite was going to be sorted out ASAP, however despite numerous assesments this support was NEVER put in place,
i was reported again to social services, this time due to home conditions and my canabis use (which i had previously disclosed to social services of my own accord) it was also reported that i left my middle child (age 9) home alone with my then 5 month old baby, for extended periods of time, regulary, this was investigated and she spoke to the child and it was determined again that no further action would be taken,

fast forward to december, december the 15th i decided to stop using canabis, this has not been easy but i have done it and was very proud of myself for managing to do this
i have saved huge sums of money (£190 a WEEK!!) and have put this into my house and my children,, and i still am, and very proud of myself for finally realising the financial impact it was having on my family! and also the impact on my eldest children who despite i dont do it aroundthem they must know about it and i put them first)

ok so all was going great, or so i thought, I wont say stopping my drug use was easy, its been the hardest thing i have ever done but i am commited to staying clean, I have attended NA meetings, both locally and online, (yes i know very early days)

on 20 december, at 8:45am my sons social worker accompanied by her manager knocked on my door, my son had just gone to school,my partner had taken him, the area around my front door smelled slighlty of canabis (as a neighbour had stood just inside the door talking to my partner as his son also attends the same school he had stood there for 10 mins holding a lit joint) the children had allready left and i told him to leave!! i had only just woken up as i have a injury and am taking codeine for this injury and was tired,
10 mins after he had left the social worker arrived with her manager, we were halfway through pulling up the stairs carpet as the money i had saved on not taking drugs had gone on a new carpet, they were allowed in the hallway but i asked them to leave, they didnt make clear why they were there just that they had concerns about the children, i told them i would not allow them any further at that stage as it was my disabled childs last day at school and i wouldnt have chance to pull up the carpet when he was not at school and the new carpet was being fitted the next day and i was very busy/ill/tired. the manager did tell the social worker that in that case they would have to leave but made it clear they would be back, they then asked about the drug use, i told them i had stopped, they obv didnt beleive me and stated they were concerned as they could smell canabis in the house, (they stood where the friend had been smoking) she asked about the carpet and i explained as it was litrally half up at this point and was laying on the stairs (the top had been pulled up but the bottom had not)

they returned 2 days later at the same time (8:45am) i allowed them access to the house, they were demanding to see the childrens rooms, i initially refused as i was fearful as my son is a fecal smearer and does this daily (he is 13) but once they said they were doing a section 47 i obv then knew i HAD to allow them access to the rooms, and the children, i stated i was very scared as i hadnt seen my sons room that morning yet, as his dad had got him up and ready and i hadnt been in there so i was unaware of the state of it, she stated not to worry as they could tell fresh fecal smearing from old and that they were there to check he was not being neglected and left in his own faeces.

the new carpet had been fitted and the house was clean and tidy, luck has it so was my sons room as his dad had cleaned up the mess at 3am that morning and he had not smeared after, there was however a slight "aroma" to the room,

once they had looked around the house and saw (but not spoke the children) they told me they had numeros serious concerns about the children i will list these here,
they had recived an anon report that
1, my 18 month old was kept in a car seat and pushchair 24/7 and is nevre allowed to play/walk around the house (untrue)
2, my house was "squalid and dirty" (also untrue) i have sent pictures to numerous people after they left to people i know would be honest with me and they all say it looks lovely,
3, i smoke canabis all day around my children, (i did smoke canabis till the 15th but had quit by the time social services arrived and NEVER around my children

and here comes the nail in my coffin
the school had reported that they had found faeces in between my sons toes on 2 days prior,
i can only take a guess as to how that got there, im aware this raises serious concerns about the welfare of my child,

they had a meeting and contacted the police, they said the police have concerns although i have no idea as to the nature of these concerns as we have had no involvment with the police since the death of my son,


my son gets a bus to a special needs school with many other children who attend the same school, my son often puts his hands down the back of his nappy (its a adult nappy)and picks piecees of faeces out of his anus, he also takes his shoes and socks off while on the bus, the bus has 1 driver, 1 helper (to around 12 severly disabled children) so my guess as to how the fecal matter got in between his toes is that he put it there during the journey to school on both days, my son has a shower (to remove any bodily fluids and fecal matter) and then a bath as he loves having a bath but cannot bathe untill after his shower as it wouldnt be hygenic to do so in my opinion so my son has a shower AND a bath every morning.

they did not tell me what they thought of the home conditions but i am very worried because as they were leaving i asked if i would be sensible getting legal advice, the manager just nodded.

they asked about my canabis use, i told them i had stopped but they didnt seem to belive this despite me ALLWAYS being honest with social services on all previous occasions,

so that was the last i heard of this matter, (i have heard nothing since the visit on the 23rd decemberbut the offices will have been closed)

i have managed to stay off the drugs and my house is clean and tidy, in fact i have taken even further steps to avoid his fecal smearing which have involved 15 mins observational checks on my teenager all through the night and this has been succesful (despte making me extremly tired)

so thats the whole unadulterated truth, i have a few questions,

if they were going to take any emergency action would they have been able to do this over the xmas period or is it possible they will now seek to take emergency action, (ie remove the children)

If they ask for a drugs test im screwed as the research i have done suggests due to my long term drug use, canabis would remain in my bloodstream for up to 50 days after stopping (so i would still test positive were they to request a drugs test) and will continue to be deposited into my hair for 15 days AFTER that, so it will 65 days untill my hair shows my abstinence, if they want a drugs test i have no way to prove i have stopped on the 15th and i feel im about to loose my children, they are acting too late, i will be honest and say they should have acted a year ago, when my house was a state and my drug use was really bad, I feel they have failed to help by stopping his respite (which they assessed in june he needed urgently)

i feel like my stopping my drug use is too late and there is nothing i can now do :( i am staying clean but im worried this wont have any bearing on the case as i will still be testing positive for up to 65 days :(

If they ask for child protection plan, i will work with them fully but can they demand drug testing on a child protection plan?, (i will still be testing positive untill febuary) there is no way to prove my abstinence, I really dont know what to do, we have had christmas ruined (although the children dont know that) and this worry is putting undue pressure and stress on my relationship, i feel im in a sinking boat with no way out,
they didnt ask when i stopped, so if i tell them i stoppedon 15th december will this be seen as too late (was before i knew they were comming round and i made the decision to stop off my own back and did without their involvement, if they doa drugs test will they take into account that heavy canabis users can test positive long after they have stopped? :( will they give me a chance to prove i have stopped, Ie wait a little longer to take into account the amount of time it can stay in my body for,

im continuing to attend NA meetings and want to use the local drugs and alcohol misuese service but feel if i refer myself now, this will look ike i stopped AFTER their visit when in fact i stopped nearly a week before their visit, and would the codiene i have taken (on prescription)be used against me as i know that codeine/heroin/morphoine/methadone all look identical on a drugs test, so if tested now i would test positive for opiates AND canabis :(

what can i do? :( is it too late!??

Lucy
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:31 am

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Lucy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:42 am

i only went into that level of detail as i have seen on lots of replies that you cant advise properly without detailed history so i have provieded this hoping you can advise me appropriatly,

thank you
Lucy

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2020
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:48 pm

Dear Lucy,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

I can see that children’s services have been involved with your family primarily due to one of your children having complex needs. There have also been various referrals to them for other reasons.
However, children services have always been satisfied that your children had not suffered harm and were not at any ongoing or future risk of suffering significant harm. So there had been no decision before, to escalate things to a child protection conference.

You and your partner have clearly got a good history of working cooperatively with them.
They accepted that the drug use had not taken place in front of your children.

In June 2016, significantly, the unit your son attended was closed and after further assessments you were advised that your sons needs were at an exceptional level and respite support would be put in place.
This has never happened. It is amazing that you have continued for so long without the support you should have been getting.
Have you challenged this failure of children services to provide support? You should do so, as soon as you can.
Have a look at our advice sheet – family support .

Contact A Family, a charity advising families with disabled children, might also be able to offer help and support.

Children’s services are now carrying out child protection investigation (Section 47).

This happens when children services are worried that any of your children might be at risk of suffering harm. If their assessment finds that they may be, then a strategy meeting (meeting between professionals) will take place and decisions will be made about the way forward, such as whether or not there will be a child protection conference.
So at the end of the assessment, which could happen anytime before 9 weeks, children's services might make a decision to escalate to child protection conference or keep things at the child in need level.

Please see our information about child protection .


Consideration of your children being removed in an emergency, would only happen if professionals believed your children at risk of serious harm or in imminent danger. This does not appear to be the case.

Children can only be removed, if you agreed to it (accommodation) or children services obtain an interim court order giving them the legal parental responsibility to make decisions about your children. They would have to prove to the court that your children were at a risk of serious harm or had been seriously harmed. (In rare cases, the police can issue police protection for up to 72 hours only).
If children services were to go to court, you would be entitled to have a solicitor representing you.

Removal of children is a last resort, so the court would want to know what support had been put in place to help you-such as accessing drugs support and why children services had not provided the support you had been assessed for.

If children services thought there were grounds to take court proceedings, they should follow the pre- proceedings process first.
This can include family group conference( to loook for support within your friends and family network) and the pre proceedings process (where you have a meeting with solicitors to set out what needs to be done by you to avoid court proceedings and what assessments or support might be needed).
Please see page 7 of advice sheet 15-care proceeding’s .

In relation to the support you are getting around your cannabis use, I suggest you continue with this. Have you got a record of going to NA? Do not get too worried about this, if you haven’t. The main thing is that you are taking these steps now. If you think the drugs and alcohol service will be beneficial you should certainly consider self- referring. This can only go in your favour.

In relation to hair strand testing, consideration would certainly be given to how long it takes for drugs to leave the system. These are expensive processes and children services usually only request them either in court proceedings or later on in the child protection process-if a parent was saying they are drug free but children services didn’t believe them. This isn’t the case with you.

I hope this advice helps. I wonder whether you have become more worried due to the team managers response to you when you asked about whether you needed legal advice? I don’t she was being fair.

She should have told you more about her worries and should still be keeping you informed about the assessment process. Although can get legal advice at any time, Legal aid is not automatically available at the low intervention level of child in need/ child protection enquiries level-which appears to be the case.
If children services were considering court proceedings, then you should be issued with a letter before action or pre proceedings letter which would entitle you to legal aid.
At this stage, it is best to continue to cooperate-as you and your partner have done so in the past.
I hope this helps but please post back if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Lucy
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:31 am

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Lucy » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:14 am

Thank you very much for your reply,
I will of course continue to co-operate with them as we have allways done, i have also taken steps to ensure that my son does not go to school in any worse condition than he leaves the house in, i have today phoned the council and cancelled his transport, and will take him myself from now on, this will ensure that he is supervised during the journey at a much higher level than he has been on the bus,

I have heard nothing from them since, Its worth noting that in august, and again in november i made a complaint regarding their faliure to offer the respite and support they assessed he needed, nothing came of that except a apology! but everything was over the phone and no records were kept,

I dont have any evidence of my attending NA as by its very nature is anonymous and so nothing was provided to me, however i will keep a diary from now on of dates and times of the meetings I attend,

I am very worried that the schools report of what happened those 2 days would have a huge bearing on the outcome of the section 47. i am also concerned that they said the police have "concerns" even tho there have been no police involvment with my family since the death of my son, and then that involvment was the usual famliy liason service, and support through the trial (the other driver was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and recieved a custodial sentace)

No matter what i have done i have been unable to secure any support/care for my disabled teenage son since june 2016, i feel they have failed him totally since stopping his respite, in fact they havnt had a CIN/TAC meeting since 2014! (these were stopped as we have regular meetings with regards to his school being a specialist school and there are lots of reviews ect) and also they did regular reveiw meetins due to his respite, (was classed as "child in care review" I will definatly take a look at the pages you have linked to!

i beleive they have allready held meetings (with proffesionals) as they stated they have done so, but i have no idea what they have decided to, apart from initiating the section 47. My sons psych consultant has no concerns as i have asked him, and he even said we do an exceptional job and he has never dealt with a child whose needs are as high or complex as my sons, he also said he will be willing to attend any meetings and that his opinion is that we do a exceptional job as parents, and he can see how we both function and work together to support my son,

my children are and always will be my number one priority, i know i failed them by taking canabis and i have no excuse for doing so, i should have stopped a long time ago, but, i have now done so and will continue to remain drug free, NA has helped me so much and i allready owe them so much, i know in my head and my heart that i WILL NEVER go down that path again,

however the social worker and manager made it clear at the end of their visit that they dont beleive i have stopped, i even asked them "why would i lie when i have allways been honest with you" i told them to look at all my records and they will see i have always been honest so why would i start lying now, and the manager just shrugged shoulders :(
I will utilise thelocal drugs and alcohol service i have contacted them re self refferal and they have told me to go tomorrow at a certain time and i will do this, she did tell me they will do regular urine tests so hopefully that may help prove my abstinence,

I guess now i just have to wait and see what they decide to do, will post back when i know what as been decided regarding the section 47 although by the way things left when they left i beleive they will escalate this to cild protection, altough i do keep trying to reassure myself that if they thought they needed to take any emergency action it would have been done allready? as its now been 2 weeks since their visit and if they beleived my children were in any imminent danger then they wouldnt have waited 2 weeks? even if it was christmas?

huge thanks for your time and support with this matter!
Lucy

Lucy
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:31 am

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Lucy » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:27 pm

Hi,

thanks for your previous advice,

i have recieved corrospondence today, i have not heard anything about the Section 47 or its outcome however i have today recieved a letter inviting me to attend a Child in need meeting,
under subject is the name of 1 child only,
my severly disabled Teen,

so is this likely to mean they dont have serious concers after their section 47? and the CIN is just because a disabled child is a CIN by default? (i know in law a child severely disabled in ALLWAYS a CIN) or that they still have concerns regarding this child?

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2020
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:15 pm

Dear Lucy

Thank you for your further post.

It appears from your post that the outcome of the s47 child protection enquiries might be that children services do not consider that there are no safeguarding issues that require a child protection conference.

The recommendation seem to be that the children should be treated as children in need and appropriate support provided. Please see our advice sheet relating to children in need and the support that can be offered. Do read our advice sheet relating to child protection procedures which explains what can happen at the conclusion of s47 enquiries read from page 14.

You are correct that where a child has a disability he or she will be treated as a child in need.

I suggest you wait until the meeting to see exactly what children services are offering to you and your children.

Please do telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366 if you wish to speak to an adviser, the advice line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Chancing
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:39 am

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Chancing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:27 pm

As a long term heroin addict I can reassure you that codeine,morphine and heroin show up very differently on a drugs test. They can even tell how recently you last used.
There is zero risk of them mixing those up, unless they are utterly incompetent.

Fingers crossed everything works out for the best.

Troment193
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: Need urgent advice

Postby Troment193 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:00 pm

Chancing wrote:As a long term heroin addict I can reassure you that codeine,morphine and heroin show up very differently on a drugs test.


not sure about the rest but I am sure about this part to be 100% sure because I am an ex heroin addict... and I went through drug tests and I know this is true. hope you're fine...


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