Troubled Teen in Care

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Lightbulb
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:44 pm

Troubled Teen in Care

Post by Lightbulb » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:17 pm

Hi there, where do I start, this is a long story, in 2018 my teen’s behaviour started to deteriorate at school. She was in the beginning of year 8. Before I go on, I have another daughter who is diagnosed with OCD and ASD, who is two years older than the daughter in care. From the onset of the younger ones behaviour we have fought for help, pushed the GP to refer her to CAMHS, initiated a parent led EHCP, which was a lengthy process during lockdown 2020, 12 months from start to finish. She finally was diagnosed with emotional dysregulation, ODD and Further down the line ASD. The behaviours she presented were very angry, impulsive, emotionally dysregulated, violent at times, then towards the end self harming behaviours. We attended the ‘Cygnet’ Autism programme, and ‘strong not tough’, parenting programme. She was fix term excluded on two occasions, she was blackmailed on line, police were involved, due to her vulnerability’s she seemed to get herself caught up in things she shouldn’t have. we were looking into specialist school’s whilst we were waiting on the completion of the EHCP. Lockdown proved to be beneficial for us, unlike most, she was happier being away from school, the social stresses had been removed and the day to day struggles of school life. From February 2020 to late September 2020 she was doing really well, we had one incident, which was effectively managed. At the end of September 2020, is when she started to deteriorate again, this time she failed to come home from a friends house and was found at 10pm face down in a bus stop, she had taken drugs and appeared to be unconscious. early help and social services had been involved on and off throughout this period, early help were a tremendous support in 2018/19. October 2020 is when social services became involved again, after the drug incident and several hospital admittions due to self harm. In December 2020 we agreed to have 2:1 carers in our home 24/7 to support her because she said she didn’t feel safe and continued to self harm. This was to assist in keeping her safe and out of hospital. This was a tough period, we had locks on every door, everything had to be locked away and our of reach. This lasted for a period of 5 weeks. In Late January 2021, she was struggling and attacked the carers, smashed her bedroom up, she was admitted to hospital, she no longer wanted carers in our home. Around this period she had disclosed to me a sexual encounter with 2 boys, which I disclosed to professionals. On this hospital visit is when she made allegations that she hits her parents to stop them hitting her. This is when our world got turned upside down. S47, interim care order, S47 concluded no evidence of abuse, no further action. Phycologist concluded she needed trauma therapy and family therapy after a period of containment, 5 placements later and a deprivation of Liberty in place prohibiting her from access to the community, access to technology, 3:1 staffing with provisions in place for 4. She is now in a placement with ‘lock door’ policy. Phycologist in her report said she rarely recommends removal of contact as a consequence but in xxxxx case this may be necessary. She said there are two steps she has to learn, consequences and managing her emotions. Backtracking April was when we had our only face to face contact, during April we had twice weekly video contact which at times were difficult depending on the behaviour she presented. The placement wrote horrible reports about our contact, which were exaggerated and reported we said thing to her we wouldn’t dream of saying, I feel everyone was looking for a scapegoat for her behaviour, this is how SS managed to obtain a no contact order. In total we had 10 video calls, Contact was stopped at the end of April because social services felt we were the trigger. We have not had contact since, they now have learnt that anything can trigger her, her behaviour continues, In a way we were better off out the way so they could formulate a pattern of behaviour, since contact has been stopped she has endeavoured to try to contact us at every opportunity, she ran from her dentist appointment on two occasions, she has managed to obtain wi-if on several occasions and made contact that way, most recently she accessed the managers office and pretended to call her social worker and called home. It is really difficult because although she was challenging, she has lovely qualities and strengths, we miss her dearly and are finding it very difficult to continue with day to day life with no contact. She has essentially been locked up now for 3 months. My question to you is, is this legal to keep her away from all family members (we spotted on one of your posts - (1989 UN convention on the rights of a child’, article 37, Children who are locked up must be able to keep in contact with their family), can anyone assist?

Final care orders were made on September 1st 2021, to remain where she is and to undergo trauma therapy before any consideration of reunification, we didn’t oppose this because we know she desperately needs the correct help, What we struggle with is the lack of involvement parents have in care orders, we don’t have any relationship with her social worker, we receive 1 weekly report, our views are not sought about anything. 3 weeks ago my older daughter saw her sister at the dentist, she had her nose pierced, why were we not asked our views about this? She is only 15! We struggle with how they are treated in the care system, the allowances they have, our daughter never wanted for anything when she was at home, but I’m sure like most sensible parents she didn’t get a new expensive pair of trainers whenever she asked. Whereas in the care system, when we were in contact she had new expensive clothes on regularly. On many occasions was rewarded for negative behaviour, I struggle to understand the logic. We were criticised in the beginning for confiscating her mobile phone due to safeguarding, now the local authority have a deprivation of Liberty in place prohibiting use of any electronics. You are damned if you do damned if you don’t, we would of possibly been criticised if we hadn’t removed her phone for not safeguarding her, you will never win with them. Instead of the local authority listening to parents and listening to historic concerns we have had with out daughter, there have focused on blaming parents and missed key aspects over the past 6 months which may have prevented our daughter being put at risk in the care of the local authority and on her 5th placement. They tried to blame us for her running in front of a lorry whilst in their care because we called the placement. Social worker inaccurately recorded events when she attacked the carers. In order to bring it to a strategy meeting in the first place, (social worker was present when she attacked the carers, and only reported she attacks mom and dad) this was in the police report.

In the final hearing social services wanted us to take blame for why we needed a care order, judge very quickly said she was disappointed with the local authority and it didn’t benefit anyone to pinpoint blame, she also highlighted that the local authority have had to apply for a deprivation of Liberty to care for her. The threshold was she would be at risk if she were to return home due to her high lever of needs at this time.

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

Re: Troubled Teen in Care

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:09 pm

Dear Lightbulb,

Welcome to the Parents Forum. I am Suzie, Family Rights Group’s online adviser.

I would like to say how sorry I am to hear about the difficult time your daughter and the rest of your family have experienced over the last few years. Your daughter has such a high level of need that she is currently subject to a deprivation of liberty safeguards order as well as a care order and a no contact order.

You raise concerns about the following issues:
• There being a "no contact order"-is this legal?
• Are children services following their procedures in respect of consulting you about your daughter’s care?
• You are unhappy that you are being blamed for your daughter’s needs.

Contact with your daughter
The law says that parents and people with legal parental responsibility should have “reasonable contact” with a child in care. When children are subject to a care order, like your daughter, children services can only suspend contact (without going to court) for 7 days. Any time longer than 7 days they need your agreement or a court order. In your daughter’s case, due to her complex needs the court has made a “no contact” order. This gives children services the legal authority to refuse contact between you and your daughter. In the future, children services could gradually re-introduce contact, if children services thought it was safe to do so.
You as a parent could also ask the court to make a contact order. So, if your daughters health improved after the therapy, you could consider going to court for a contact order.
Your daughter can also get legal advice herself about applying to court for a contact order. She would need permission of the court to make a contact application and the current DOLS will complicate any application she may make. Does she have access to an advocate?
In answer to your question, a "no contact" order is an order of the family court and is not illegal.
From your post, I can see that the care plan is for your daughter is to have trauma informed therapy. Ask the social worker about timescales for this and also about whether they have any idea yet about contact resuming and if so when this might be? Also ask whether there is something you as a parent needs to do to make contact with your daughter more likely to happen. It seems from your post that things are at crisis level with your daughter’s mental health, and it may be too difficult to know yet about contact in the future but I think it is worth always asking the social worker and/ or the independent reviewing officer these questions. Contact should also be considered at every Looked after children (LAC) review meeting. Does your daughter sees any other family members such as her older sibling?


Not being consulted by children services about your daughter’s care.
As a parent you should be consulted about your daughters care plan and be involved in the decision making. However, in exceptional circumstances you can be excluded from the review meetings if the independent reviewing officer (IRO) decides this, but you should be notified in writing why this decision has been made. You should be still consulted. Find out why you are not invited to the review meetings. Here is information about review meetings.


Being blamed by children services for your daughter’s behaviour.
I think you should hold on to what the judge has said against the social worker about how unhelpful it is to level blame at you and how children services themselves have struggled to care for your daughter and needed to apply for a dols. I wonder how many other dols are in place in your local authority? It is an exceptional procedure which reflects your daughter’s complex needs. Any parent may have struggled without the support needed in the community before children services were involved. When they were involved, you describe doing specialist courses to help your daughter.
Going forward, what else can you do to help your daughter? Ask these questions of children services. As you have parental responsibility of your daughter, it is important that you continue to work with children services to ensure your daughter does get the best possible care she needs. Have a look at our guide to working with social workers

Here is information about children service’s duties to children who are in the care system.

I hope my advice helps. If you need further advice, please post again or call our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,
Suzie

Lightbulb
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:44 pm

Re: Troubled Teen in Care

Post by Lightbulb » Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:15 am

Thank you for you advice. My daughter doesn’t have an advocate, she currently doesn’t have contact with anyone, sibling, parents, wider family or friends. The recommended 2-3 months period of containment was up on 21st of September, we are hoping they will start to reintroduce some form of contact soon, however, we are not very hopeful as her staffing levels have not been reduced, she is still staffed at 3:1. We were thinking of doing a private NVR course due to the lengthy waiting lists on the NHS, we don’t want social services in the further to say she has had therapy but you haven’t completed NVR, we don’t want to delay her reunification in the future. We are aware it’s not going to be a quick fix, she needs lots of help, we want to be prepared and fully informed with anything that may help us parent her in the future. Should we have received a copy of the care plan?, final orders were made on September 1st 2021. Can you please advise? Who is responsible for sending us a copy of the plan?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3453
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Troubled Teen in Care

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Oct 19, 2021 2:56 pm

Dear Lightbulb,

Thankyou for your post and please accept my apologies that it has taken a few weeks to respond to you.

Advocacy for children
You say that your daughter doesn’t have an advocate. An advocate is independent from children’s services and will help your daughter to get her views heard so it may be something that you might wish to consider looking into. You can discuss this with your daughter’s social worker or Independent Reviewing Officer and request that your daughter is offered an advocate. Coram Voice and Help at Hand offer this service and you can find more information on their websites.

Care Plan
You asked whether you should have received a copy of the final care plan as final orders had been made on 1st September 2021. As it has now been several weeks since your post I hope that you have received a copy by now. Everyone with parental responsibility should have received a copy. If you have not received this then you should contact children’s services to request this immediately.

I hope that this is helpful. If you need further advice, please post again or call our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,
Suzie

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