Thursday, February 21, 2013

dear mr social worker

Dear mr social worker
Further to our recent meeting I would like to clarify a few points.
Firstly that the role that you and Social Work are to play.   You commented that “we support the child, we don’t support the family” but we believe that this is not the case, quoting directly from the East Renfrewshire Council web page:  “We provide assessment of need and on-going support to families affected by substance misuse, mental health, children affected by disability, families experiencing problems due to separation and loss and with children experiencing difficulties with trauma or behavioural problems”.  Given that we are currently undertaking an assessment of need and we do not know the outcome of this, we hope that it becomes clear that we as a family are indeed in need of support: The Children’s Act of 1989 states that in the case of a child with special needs that the family will be assessed as a whole unit.  Therefore, in conjunction with the assessment of need, we ask for a family assessment and or a carer’s assessment to be undertaken.
Secondly your statement that Eilidh “has few needs over her peers at this age, but that this will change over time”.  We also disagree with this: Eilidh is in receipt of the highest rate of DLA which in itself tells us that her needs are significantly more than her peers.  I have included a copy of the completed DLA application form for you to review which gives in detail the level of input that Eilidh requires now.  I hope that the level of care Eilidh requires will become apparent to you and subsequently will be reflected in our assessment rather than a dismissive generic remark regarding a child you do not know, with a disability you have only some awareness of.
Lastly, we were disappointed to hear that in many families living with children with special needs, one parent may indeed need to give up working to care for their child, relying on benefits to supplement their family income.  It would be naive to imagine that this isn’t the case for some, but I would hope that with more support - emotional, psychosocial and physical - that fewer parents would feel that they needed to give up working.  Of course, the issue of resources - and lack thereof - would be cited as a reason not to be able to provide such support but with millions being put into benefits, and with the Welfare Reform Bill only reducing these benefits, therefore impacting on people’s quality of lives, surely more time, energy and money should be put into providing support to keep parents in employment, enabling and empowering them to live as a family more independently?  That said, it is our hope that we can both remain in employment to the benefit of all our family but look for support in doing this.
We look forward to working together in the assessment of our needs and investigating the role and benefit of Direct Payments for individual care for Eilidh, with the ultimate and common goal of supporting our family as a whole unit.
Yours sincerely
a mummy looking for hope for us and many more like us


Ellen Arnison said...

I hope your letter reaches someone with some sense. It sounds horrible. x

h0peful mummy said...

thank you ellen, it certainly wasn't the best of starts to our relationship with SW!

Michelle Daly said...

Good on you for speaking out!
We need to expose the kind of indifferent attitudes special needs parents are met with when they reach out for help and support - reach out for what they are entitled to.
Shame on them for being so ill-informed and thank goodness, unlike so many other worn-down parents you have the energy to stand up and challenge this kind of faceless bureaucracy.