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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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Sally44

Section 20

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Sally44   

My son might become an accommodated child. Waiting to hear the outcome of Childrens Services meetings. Very unhappy, very angry, very confused. Been asking for help and support for years. They come and assess, say he is at risk of harm, they don't offer any support. Totally desolate at the moment.

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Not sure if you have sort legal advice. Here are advice sheets: frg.org.uk (family rights group). They may be able to offer support.

 

Children's Services appear to act to their own agenda. When I was given advice to close my son's case, as they were anything but helpful and I feared what is happening to your family, I did. They were never ever going to support my son or the family. The Core assessment said it was parenting that was the problem and yet my son was not 'worth funding' for a residential placement. SW told me my son would be in full time education within a couple of days if placed in foster care. Also 'considered' my son to fit criteria for child protection but still closed the case as 'child in need'. Son now out of education for 2 years 4 months with no practical intervention. People who have no idea about Autism give contrary advice.

 

I am going down the educational route to get the type of support my son needs. Also I have sort advice from NAS.

 

I hope you get this sorted to the benefit of the whole family.

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trekster   

You can get the support you need for your son, as you have come this far, keep fighting.

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bed32   

I'm very sorry to hear about that - I'm afraid it is too far from my experience to be able to give advice.

 

I have tried to have as little to do with SS as possible - my impression is that they have a very one-dimensional view and a very limited range of options that they seem willing to consider.

 

As I understand it they can only make a Section 20 order with your agreement, and it would seem to be a very bad idea for you to agree without getting professional legal advice.

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Sally44   

Waiting to see what they decide. I've been advised to get legal advice once I know IF they are going to do that.

What SS did say was that they could/would put together a "package" of support that might not involve him being residential at his current school - but remaining a day pupil [so how is that going to help with the transitions??]. They did say that we would have a parental right to say that the package was not suitable and to turn it down. Then they added that if we did that that they might decide that our decision was not in the best interests of our child.

 

We contacted them for help and support for Yiannis and the family. They haven't provided us anything. They have incorrectly assessed and placed him on child protection list. They have told me my sister and mum cannot supervise him as they don't think they are capable. They have never met them!

 

They have said he is at risk of drowning in the bath and of scolding himself. He is average cognitive ability. He baths himself independently in school and at home.

 

My son is refusing school 50% of the time. We are superivising him at home. Clinical Psychology have refused a referral from CAHMS and school. So nothing additional or different is being offered by Childrens Services, the NHS or School.

 

School have really let my son and us down. They are again saying the mantra "we have no concerns", eventhough he isn't in school 50% of the time and eventhough he has been referred to Paediatrician for anxiety related diarrhea and vomitting. Here we go again.

 

The stress this is placing on all of us is unimaginable. My husband and I cannot eat or sleep. I've had to tell my son there is a possibility he could live in school [and in a school that no longer meets his needs].

 

This is a living nightmare.

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bed32   

I can certainly sympathise with the stress you are under. These processes seem to drag on for ages and most of the time there is nothing for you to do but wait for the next stage.

 

Have you considered residential? If his current placement is not working and SS are considering accommodation then it would seem like a good idea to consider it now. If SS are thinking that accommodation is necessary they then should be willing to contribute to the additional cost of residential provision and that in turn would make it easier to get the LA to agree.

 

The reports you hear from parents and professionals is pretty much universally that residential works well for ASD children. An appropriate school that can offer monday-friday boarding might be the perfect solution - and with the boarding/residential element that increases the number of schools within range.

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I agree with bed32. If your son is not attending school 50% of time due to psychological reasons this provision should be in the statement so he can be more enabled. Can the school provide clinical psychological intervention? They are not meeting his needs at present. I chose my son's ASD specialist school because they said he would be assessed by a clinical psychologist but he was not. They at least admit they are not meeting his needs. Have you looked at other schools?

 

How can the school say they have no concerns when they have made a referral to clinical psychology?

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Sally44   

I know, my thoughts exactly. How can you say no concerns when out of school 50% of the time, referal to clinical psychology [they have refused to accept referal twice now, but say my son "cannot manage any level of anxiety". My son does get one night a week residential. The day and night staff respond differently to his OCD obsessions and compulsions, which does not help.

 

Quite a few people have said to me to consider section 20. But I have to be confident that the school will carry out his Statement and do what is needed. I don't have that confidence at the moment.

 

So school, Clinical Psychology and Childrens Services have not provided anything. Due to something my son did, and something I said, Childrens Services are now looking at a section 20 - I think. It is all very confusing and a system [education, health and social care systems], that do not seem fit for purpose.

 

I'm just going to have to wait and see what happens, and get legal help if I need it.

 

If possible I want to keep him at the school he is currently at. We've already had a couple of school changes. But I do have one other school I can go and visit if needed.

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trekster   

Just in case you cant get anywhere with this school could you go and visit the other school anyway?

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bed32   

I am surprised you are keen to keep him in a school that you think is not meeting his needs, and where he is only attending 50% of the time I fully understand the disruption of moving school, but he clearly is neither settled nor happy there and if you are not convinced that he will settle quickly then it may be worth biting the bullet again and moving him now rather than letting things drag on without resolution. I would also say that the assessment of a school for residential is very different to that for a day pupil. IMHO residential works best where the majority of the pupils are residential, rather than where it is just added on to a day school, the benefit is the way that the school curriculum can be extended to "waking hours".

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smileyK   

when they refer to his needs as 'risk of harm' or himself others or both? has ADHD been investigated ? he needs a service suitable to cater all of his difficulties even his emotions managing them as sound unpredictable right now there's always a reason behind the emotions he currently displaying anger etc ? I can empathise with your son as I've been lost ,confused and scared lashed out at everyone and anyone around me made me feel 'hate' for myself was real!

 

xKLX

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Sally44   

He first came under childrens services when I sent them a photo of my son where he had cut off his hair and eyelashes. He has OCD and a child at school had told him his hair was full of germs. I have been asking for help and support both during school holidays, therapy for my son from a clinical or educational pscyhologist, and additional support in school. All services have failed to provide anything. All that happened was he was put on the child protection register. And we have been told we have to supervise him - day and night - at weekends - during school holidays - and 50% of term time when he is refusing school.

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trekster   

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Sally44   

Childrens Services have now offered to fund residential at his current school. Seems more positive. We need to have a meeting at his school and see if we can get our concerns sorted. And then to see if my son is happy to spend any more time in school. I have also bought a dictaphone to take to any future meetings. I'm not paranoid, just very suspicious of the system, especially that involving childrens services.

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bed32   

That sounds like a good outcome - I agree with you entirely about SS / Childrens' services - they make the LEA look like a professional, caring organisation.

 

I hope your son will be happy with the arrangement - I think four nights a week could work well for him and allow him to settle in.

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trekster   

Really hope your son does finally get the 4 nights a week at the residential school. If they made allowances for the autism side of his behaviour then some of the other issues could ease off, cant they recognise his increase in OCD behaviours are a result of his ASD needs being ignored? (rhetorical). The education system really annoys me and is failing many children at the moment.

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Sally44   

His main need for support at the moment is his OCD and anxiety. He goes to an independent special school where they have SALT and OT employed on site - so you would think they would be much better at meeting needs.

 

But they have approached the whole situation with "we are not going to recommend a, b or c because we don't think the LA would fund it." That is the wrong approach. It is about identifying and meeting need and making recommendations for the Statement to be amended to reflect that. But they didn't do that. We had the AR in February. Still awaiting the LA decision letter.

 

I'm still not sure where we are going with all this. I wrote a detailed letter to everyone involved, because it is a combination of school, LA, NHS and Childrens Services all failing to do what they should and all failing to communicate with eachother that has got us into this mess in the first place.

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