Friday, 22 February 2019

The Report

Months and months of worry, stress over the turmoil that our blended family was having, awkward and hurtful questions and an assessment to support our family that turned into an investigation and what felt like a witch hunt.

Many of you would’ve read in my last blog post that family life has been incredibly difficult. We have tried to use all of our own knowledge, read and investigated any help we could access, tried many different techniques but ultimately we were still concerned over the safety and well-being of ALL of our children and ourselves.

The technical term was Domestic and Parental abuse (Household member determining) and we had a very confused and angry boy demonstrating and initiating abuse amongst the rest. When we had tried everything and all else failed we called Social Services and alerted them of the abuse that was happening after James’ school asked us to try them again with their backing.

What was our final hope seemed to spiral out of control. Our social worker was meant to be assessing us but the process seemed more like an investigation and a witch hunt. The help we were meant to be getting somehow was focused on me and the abuse that I am doing towards the children and Hannah. There was no other premise or evidence to go on apart from the dislike and lies of the above child and historic evidence of my own childhood abuse and adoption and my physical and mental health.

We felt total despair.

We knew that the report was coming and had braced ourselves for what it may be. In every situation we have ever had with the social worker he always ignored what we (collectively anyone he interviewed) was saying and quickly shut us down if we tried to oppose his “perspective”; we needed a way to tackle that.

Luckily, friends have been supporting us and many had suggested and offered to be at the report meeting with us and be an anchor against dismissal and a witness to our fears.
The meeting happened. The social worker interviewed the children individually before he sat with us.

He started going through the new responses from the children and apart from A had increased his happiness scores the other kids only increased theirs minimally but relayed the same difficulty that they’ve been experiencing.

One point came from Will who decided to stand up for himself, Home ed and myself by putting the social worker in his place telling him all the amazing things we do in home ed and the fun social activities that he is involved with. The social worker was surprised; not just the fact that Will was doing all of these things but that he felt the need to tell him about them. It was our time to put across what we had heard from others, what we had experienced and how his impact on us has affected the children.

As expected the moment Hannah and I voiced our concerns he was quick to shut us down and argue with us. Luckily, our friend was there to back us up. I asked to be heard, Hannah asked that I was heard but it took our friend and witness saying that I had the right to be heard for him to be quiet and listen.

He sat, listened and by the end of it he was shocked. This wasn’t his experience, he thought he had done everything right, was upset that he felt that he disrespected and insulted us on occasions and, in his opinion, felt that he has fought our corner but could accept a massive communication deficit.

It took a while but we managed to come to a middle ground where he apologised and wanted to make amends. He gave us examples of how he has fought our corner; something that neither Hannah nor I had felt that he had done. Finally, with time running out, he booked us in for a Children in Need meeting with us adults, an additional and our new on-going social worker as well as the two schools who have the children registered to them and passed us the report for us to read before then and raise, if any, questions or complaints and then he left.

We sat and read the report and we were shocked. It was NOTHING at all like we expected. It didn’t cover anything that he had spiritedly pushed or aggressively argued with. If anything you would assume that our experience and the report were done by two different social workers.

The social worker had listened to everyone and had seen everything that we thought he might have missed. He clearly saw the abuse that A was doing to us and his siblings and he saw A’s attitude towards his Mum, Midge, James and I. He was in agreement that A had transferred his Sensory Processing Disorder outbursts into a behavioural form of manipulation and abuse when he had outgrew a lot of sensory difficulties. He also recognised the fact that he has attachment issues with his mum as well as females in general after recognising that A manipulates other female family members with his behaviour; all something, unknown to us, that A had willing told the social worker.

Ultimately, he actually did his job.
So, what is next?

Well the report clearly shows that we need to show a more consistent and stricter attitude towards A’s behaviour than either ignoring it, being scared of it or pandering to him. To do this we will be referred to some parenting support to help. Due to the fact that it is affecting every member of the family in some form we are being referred to Family Therapy. A is being referred to mental health for children as well as a Paediatrician. The other children are also being referred to the Paediatricians to help with some of their needs and the schools will be supporting them in those hours for pastoral care.

The Children in Need meeting was more of an introductions and summary of everything that has happened, been discovered or witnessed and where we are going.

It isn’t a quick fix. There is no magic wand to fix the very complicated and interwoven issues that faces us but we do, once again, have hope that our family life may have a positive future.


Alan Lacasse said...

Brilliant that you finally seem to be getting somewhere.

I nodded my head as I read the description of the social workers investigation. I've heard the words "we are here to help and support you" so many times as they disregard everything we say.

Fingers crossed this helps and you see an improvement Mr K.

Jeremy Barnes said...

sorry that you are going through this but it sounds like a step in a positive direction

Emma T said...

Bet its such a relief that you've got the belief n the end pf someone who's been anle to set the right wheels in motion and get you all the support you need. Hopefully it'll move quickly and things will move in a positive direction for you all

Anne said...

This all sounds like such a nightmare for your all and I fully sympathise. I have been through similar with one of my children (now an adult) and I avoided getting any help because I was so scared of it all going wrong,( I was single parent at the time with no back up.) So, I admire you for fighting your corner even though it's been a tough ride. I hope that now you will get the help that you need as a family and that A will get the help he needs. Stay positive!