If you have seen our blog on How to deal with Social services, this is further explanation for this.
Social services come under many names and depends what area of the UK you are from, it also depends on the department. So there is children services, this also includes things like the LA (Learning Authority) and EWO (Education welfare officer). These are the people that possible you have had contact with for schooling issues to do with your children. There is also a department called early help (Voluntary so you can opt out), these are also apart of the social service department.
In non urgent matters you are likely to get a phone call from the mash team, these will be to discuss what you have been referred to social services for. Due to a lot of misunderstanding of what home education looks like, and the fact a lot of people see it as a form of neglect there is a possibility that due to this you will get referrals. Referrals are nothing to worry about, they can be upsetting, especially if repeatedly done or if done by family and friends. But remember as long as your children are happy and you are ensuring they are in amazing health you have nothing to worry about.
In urgent matters the social worker will not even call, they will arrive at the door. If you are not home, there will be a letter left. This part is important, you must engage with them, if you do not they will see this as you have something to hide. This will also be the second step in non urgent matters, but they will not just arrive they will make an appointment. During this they will discuss with you the steps to move forward, this will depend on your attitude with them and whether you are showing them you are working in the best interest of the child/ren.
From the moment of first contact they have 6 weeks to decide the approach they are wanting to take. This could be that they will decided on doing a CIN (children in need) meeting or CIP (children in protection). CIN is where we were placed and this for us was because we were being made to feel guilty about the decision Social services wanted us to make. This meant we had to have a CIN meeting, this included all our children’s schools, health team, social workers, Anth and myself. Decision was made to further investigate the situation and some allegations that were made.
During this time they requested to speak with our children, for us this was not an issue. But that is because they respected that we wanted them to speak with Bella, whilst Jennifer was in the room. Jennifer and Jasmin they spoke together with them, they then noted everything down and discussed it with us. You are within your rights to ask for an advocate to be present to support yourself and the children at this time. If you refuse and fight against this, they may take this as the children know stuff they shouldn’t. For us there was many blood relatives that were saying that we were wrong to allow them to talk with the children. Our social worker admitted this worried them about what was happening and makes them want to speak with the children more.
They will then have different meetings over a time until they feel the children are your first priority. For us the last thing we had to do was agree Anth or myself would leave work and be at home with the children. This is now what we are doing, and we have ended up with our beautiful girls at home to, enjoying every moment with them. They will then have another CIN meeting to close.
Due to our children never being on CIP, it will be hard for me to advise. To be honest my understanding and knowing of people on this more often than not this doesn’t end well. We have known some children go into part foster care or full foster care, my advise would be work with them before this happens. As this is distressing for the child and parents.
If you have anything to add please comment below.