Positive News in RCC jamin
Positive Story #1
A positive outcome for a young person facing a local authority ending a placement early
This is a story of the success of committed child-centred advocacy delivered by a children’s home for the best interests of the young person.
Recently ICHA have been reading more about ways local authorities redefine ‘best interests’ using the many arguments created over the past few years, e.g. closer to home, access to schools, etc. The ‘commonsense’ when tested falls away; closer to home can also means a reduction in safety, specialism and choice (DfE commissioned research); the ICHA survey report gives the insight that access to schools is often denied for LAC.
The home shows their confidence in their expert view and with consistent assessment, they have the evidence to present another view of best interests.
We have had a child in our care since December 2013. He came to us with a history of self-harm, attachment disorder and ADHA. He had had 1 adoption breakdown and 6 foster placement breakdowns before being placed with us.
Initially, he could not have eye contact, his communication skills were very poor and he a very low opinion of females.
Educationally, this child struggled and was on the brink at one stage of being permanently excluded from school. However, due to the consistent support of both his educational mentor his keyworker and all the staff, we were able to work through this “crisis” with him and the school. So much so that he has maintained main stream education and is now in his GCSE year at school.
We appointed him a female keyworker, this was to enable him to “see females in a positive role”. His keyworker completed bereavement/loss work with him to enable him to come to terms with the breakdowns/rejection. She also completed very intensive life story work with him. Over the years, her work with him has enabled him to develop respect for females. His keyworker has had to share very sensitive information with him whilst doing the life story work, some of which was us discovering his birth mother had passed away in tragic circumstances and also that he had a half brother that no one knew he had.
We were, after many months, able to “trace”, his half-brother. We firstly instigated contact via an exchange of letters. After this, and learning from his half-brother that he had also himself attempted to trace the child, he had been told by social services that as he had been adopted, he could not have any information. Face to face contact was then arranged, again his keyworker was present at this meeting to support the child. As you can imagine it was very emotional for all. His half brother then requested for the child to live with him. We felt that this was in the child’s best interest. After several planning meetings, it was agreed that the half-brother and his partner should foster him. The local authority then, in our opinion, “dragged their feet” with this process, also at this time the social worker left.
When another social worker was given the case, we again pushed for him to be placed with his brother.
The social worker is relatively new to the job and, in our assessment, lacked confidence and experience.
I was contacted by the social worker to say that she had been “summoned” to attend an accommodation panel meeting, and that she would be in for a “grilling”, as to why the child had been with us so long and what exactly we had done for him. She also said she was told to expect to be told to give us 28 days’ notice following the panel and that they would be recommending that he be placed with his brother, whilst the local authority went for an SGO. She also said that she had been told that the local authority had to make savings and felt, in her opinion, that the move would be due to financial constraints and not about what is in the best interests of the child.
It was clear to us that the social worker was anxious about the process. Therefore, we felt we needed to brief her prior to the panel as to the significant progress he had made and the positive outcomes for this child. We did this, knowing that as residential workers, we know the children much better than the social worker and that we constantly measure outcomes.
We also felt that sometimes social workers can forget to recognise the progress made. This is especially so when a child may have had changes in social workers as was the case for this child.
We used the ECM outcomes for her to use and present to the panel. We did this in a chronological format, so she was able to see over the years the progress made, which we felt would enable her to present this in a confident manner.
We also reiterated that the placement with his brother prior to an SGO would be, in effect, an unregulated placement. We also advised she seek advice from the local authority’s legal department, which she did do and was told by them that it would in fact been an unregulated placement. This knowledge gave her the confidence to challenge the panel members, if needed.
We also stressed just how far the child had come and for the local authority to dictate timescales for this move would have a detrimental effect on his emotional wellbeing.
We were pleased to receive an email from the social worker, following the panel meeting to say, they had agreed to the child staying with us until the SGO goes through. The below is quoted from her email.
Phew the panic is over!
Our solicitor hopes to get a court date for the end of October.
It was recognised in the panel the FANTASTIC work xxx have done, well done, it was also mentioned that xxx have been rated outstanding by Ofsted.
Positive Story #2
A Life in Care
Hi my name’s and I am a young person in care and I have been with social services since I as 4 years of age. Just few days ago I was given a letter in the post telling me that I should enter a writing competition to try to win a reward so here you go. First things first, you need to know is that it will never be easy being away from your friends and family and that you will go through some hard times, but it is the most difficult of times that lead to the best times in your life. Life does not come without putting a good fight and all you need to do is try to get through it in the best way possible. My life may not be too different to yours, I am a human and so are you, we both went to a school and we both have a family. Being put in care could be a positive thing, as this helps you understand other people’s minds and opinions. You get more chance to make more friends but this is my best piece of advice. Try your hardest to behave and try not to get your hopes up, as you will be let down quite a lot but this also a part of life. Many people get let down mostly adults with their jobs but when you do get a job it will help you to not get frustrated with your boss or co-workers. Many famous people have been in care like many artists and singers, even some film actor’s maybe you may be like them one day. The best thing you can do is try to look on the bright side of things, maybe try to find a candle that you like the smell of or a soft piece of fabric that you like the feel of because these things will calm you down. Maybe even a plain drawing book and whenever you are upset, you can draw a picture. That’s what I do when I get stressed and I’ve been through some tough things and I’m sure you have too but when I got angry, I ended up getting into a fight on the streets or I ran off but this didn’t help me at all. I either got into trouble with the police or got lost and then got in trouble with the police. One thing you need to know is don’t get in trouble with the police. It won’t help you in any way and it will just make life harder, trust me, I know so just take my advice and don’t get in trouble too much. Nobody saying that you can’t get angry because everyone gets angry, we’re just saying don’t get into trouble too much maybe just an argument or a little tantrum but nothing too bad.
The XXX and my time living here
As my time being here in XXX has been a delight, with all the staff helping me get through some pretty tough times. It has really helped me learn to find my own way out of some situations, obviously not all but that’s life for you. You learn to do things by yourself and you learn how to do things with other people in your life. I find that XXX was probable the best place for me to be, when I didn’t know what was going on with my life and I would recommend that they should keep taking in children and looking after them for as long as they can. One of the best things that I like about XXX is that they take in quite a big age range of children and that helps knowing how to cope with people older and younger than you. With the children younger than me, it’s helped me to be more patient with things to come to me as the children are more hyperactive. When at a younger age and they start to calm down as the older they get. All the members of staff are amazing and that is the whole truth, in my opinion, there is nothing more to say about them, except that they are strict but in time, you learn that they are doing it to help you as best they can and at most times, they are all just very nice people, especially Brenda, Ben, Michelle, Phil, Lynn and Hilary.
First, we all start with Phil as he is my favourite, even that he probable doesn’t know it but he is a kind person. He can have a great sense of humour and at times, he can be as serious and scary like you would never expect but when he’s there, you can talk to him and he won’t judge. He is a very simple man either he’s in a good mood or a bad mood. Now Brenda she’s also one of my favourites probable because she bought me a watch but she is as cuddly as a big bear and will always be there for you when she can. She will very shout but that’s when she does, then you know that you’ve gone too far. Ben was my key worker and he is a great person when you get to know him. He will sit down with you and chat for as long as he’s free but when he’s working, he won’t stop until he’s done. Hilary is one of those people that you can talk to, even when you’re bored and can come up with some cool conversations. Michelle is quite calm at most times, even with her extremely high voice and small legs but she is one of the loudest when it comes to behaviour. I like it here and I hope that the future children do too.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
We work as a single united team with market leading firms around the world and give our clients the highest quality advice possible.