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Smacking Part 6

February 20, 2012

I had to stay away from this story – it was getting me down a bit. It’s actually quite hard to go through it chronologically and list all the times that we were wronged by a system.

I finally spoke to Anna, the Social Worker on the Tuesday. Five days since the Thursday that everything had actually happened. I can’t think now whether I called her or whether she finally called me. But it was just not what I expected at all.

Following my conversation with the Police the day before, who were dropping any interest in the events – I had absolutely expected the Ch Services to do the same. But no.

Anna explained that she had to remain ‘in contact’ with us in order to complete our ‘file’ as she wasn’t satisfied that all was well and that she wanted to visit us at home before she would say anything else. I asked lots of questions but I was instantly very upset and probably not very articulate. I asked about the supervision requirements and she said that she would like those to stay in place. It just absolutely killed me. I remember crying a lot and we arranged a date for her to come to the house. She was due to come the following Wednesday which would have been 13 days since the first event.

So in my brain at this time I’m thinking – God – how can this not be over? I’m thinking – well we can’t be of that much interest as surely to goodness they would be coming round sooner than another week away…? I’m wondering what on Earth she has seen that makes her think she needs to stay involved. She was at the hospital with us for hours as a family and nothing happened there at all that could cause concern.

It made no sense to me.

Dave – the PPU Officer – had mentioned at some point that Ch Services might offer support and did I feel I needed any. We questioned what kind of support but weren’t given any examples. He had questioned in my Police interview that we had two bedrooms and soon to be four children. How was that going to work? I wondered if she was going to come and say that our housing was unsuitable?!

It was terrifying.

We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I mean our house is not a show home – but it’s not dirty. We have outgrown it, sure – but we can’t afford to move at the moment so we’re stuck with it. We make do – we have some clutter but Jeez – who doesn’t have some clutter?!

I had two friends at the time who worked in Children Services, one for our own County (although for a different area) and my friend C who worked for another County completely. They both worked in slightly different sectors and could offer different advice.

One was able to tell me exactly what to expect from a home visit as she did them regularly – what the SW would be looking for – what she would be observing and what she would be likely to ask. My other friend, C, was able to tell me via her Senior Social Worker colleague – what the red tape of the situation was that we were going through was called – what the actual steps of it were – who would become involved from our lives and what that meant.

This is what we found out – they would call our GP, our Health Visitor and our Childcare for information on our family. They would be looking at professional’s assessment of our kids’ health – how often we visited the Dr and what for and what concerns they had if any. The same of the HV – ask about her opinion of us as parents – discuss any concerns about our home environment or our children’s health. They would also be very likely (although this doesn’t always get followed up) to contact our childcare.

Armed with this information – I started the ball rolling. I contacted all of these people. AT first in writing alerting them to the fact that there had been an incident that had been investigated by the Police and that they had left the situation but that Ch Services were still involved. I described the event. I called the family solicitor, William, who had been so kind to me – and he advised that the letter was absolutely fine as long as in NO WAY WHATSOEVER – was there any admission of wrong doing.

I also found out from C’s friend that this supervision requirement was – in her opinion – totally unnecessary considering the facts of our case. She felt the whole case was ridiculous anyway but she said that it was voluntary – we hadn’t signed anything legal – I had voluntarily agreed to not be alone with my children and I didn’t have to agree to that if it was impacting our family life.

In the letter to the HV, the GP and my Childminder – which I cc’d to Ch Services – I advised that the supervision requirements was having a negative impact on our health and wellbeing as a family. I advised that it was costing us more money as we were having to leave them at childcare earlier in the day. I advised that we were all having to get up earlier because of that, rush the children even more in the morning which in a house with two sleep deprived parents as it was – was not helping. I detailed how distressed I was feeling under this requirement, that I was 22 weeks pregnant and losing weight and not able to sleep due to all the stress of the situation as it was – without the added upset of feeling like a criminal and not being allowed to be alone with my kids. C’s senior colleague advised me to say that as of now I was going to stop adhering to the request and that should they have an issue with that they had 48 hours to contact me and say why. I gave my contact numbers and left it at that. The Principal Practitioner (which is the name for the Senior Social Worker) said not to give longer than 48 hours. They work full time around the clock as they have to be available at any time and therefore there would definitely be someone available to respond to the communication. She advised that I call Ch Services, ask for Anna’s email, her dept head’s email address and her direct manager as well. I emailed them all and also sent the letters by recorded delivery.

I heard nothing. And this was a weight off my shoulders.

The week drifted past with research into the schools Child Protection Policy – lots of research into the rules and regulations surrounding school’s intervention in situations such as ours. Legal definitions of words involved and we picked it to pieces.

My GP called me to say that she had received the letter – asked me to tell her about what had happened and if there was anything she could do. She also really set my mind at rest by saying that I should relax – her words were that if she had any concerns, she would be calling Ch Services herself to advise that the supervision requirement should stay in place and that she certainly wasn’t going to be doing that.

On the Thursday afternoon, I spoke to my HV who said that she was going to come round and see us on Friday evening after work. I’ve known her for years  since Rowan was born  she’s lovely, knows us well, has been to our house loads of times and is very supportive. She echoed the GP and said she wanted to come and give me a big hug.

It was starting to sound so much better. I was frustrated that we were having to wait for this visit but at least things were looking up.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2012 10:33 pm

    I can’t believe all this went on a I was in my own little world and didn’t know. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to support you. x

  2. February 21, 2012 5:04 am

    Still can’t believe it all… but am glad you had contacts and had advice what to do for the pending visit, (wrong tense but you know what I mean). I know she was doing her job and all that but it seems very over the top given what she had seen of you and the hospital checks etc… no wonder it is still hard to write about!!

  3. February 22, 2012 11:00 pm

    SM you had your own stuff going on.. and tbh I didn’t tell anyone really. I spoke to ppl I needed for advice. I didn’t even tell my family x So don’t feel bad 🙂 x

  4. April 30, 2012 10:20 pm

    I’m reading your story having followed a link from Merry’s blog. I simply cannot believe what you’ve been through. I’ve often worried about such mistakes being made and I’m shocked to see the ramifications of one such mistake. It could happen to any one of us but that it happened to you – a parent who went to A&E and was blatantly honest and telling the truth, shocks me. It is also a reminder to me of how important it is to tell the EXACT truth if you are in a responsible position such as the school were in. We each of us, cannot know the full extent of the influence of the words we use. I feel very sad that you had to go through this and can only imagine the trauma of it, but I want to thank you for writing so clearly and honestly about your ordeal so that we can learn from it. You sound like you have such a wonderful, beautiful family and they are very lucky to have such a mum.

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