Monday, January 18, 2010

Want Help From Social Services? Not Actually Beating Your Child? No Chance.

Today, I received confirmation in the post that our family will not receive any help from Social Services. This is because we are not beating our child.

Our family would really benefit from some respite care. We need to provide our son Joe, who has Asperger syndrome, with structured activities designed for him to improve his social skills, manage his anger, understand others' feelings etc. It is hard to do this with two other children to look after. It would help a great deal if the other two could be taken out for a while, or if Joe could have a weekend away once in a while so that his brothers (and parents!) could have a break fom his needs dominating our home life.

The only way to access such respite care from the state is via Social Services. So we accepted a referral and had a visit from a social worker before Christmas. While he was very sympathetic and could see the benefits of our request, it was clear that due to shortage of resources, Social Services would pretty much only authorise respite care when the child(ren) were in imminent danger of abuse by their parents.

Whatever happened to the idea that if you help families before they get to that stage of dysfunction, you might actually prevent things from getting that bad? Or even - what about the idea of Social Services for everyone that needs them, not just those who (are about to) abuse their kids?!

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