Please can you help me to draft a response


I have posted a few times about my eldest son and his placement. I would just like a little guidance on how I should approach a response to a request from my son’s supported living provider.

About two weeks ago, I attended a meeting at my son’s residence. I was told this was an informal meeting between my son, his social worker and the social worker’s manager, just to make sure my son could express his views about what he wanted in his next placement.

However, as we were talking, several members of staff and the manager of the care provision entered and the meeting became a little heated (I felt a bit like an innocent bystander). It became clear that the care providers had asked the council for £300 a week additional funding to support my son. The support was for the 1:1 work he receives. The social worker and his manager seemed to be saying there was no evidence of this support and, after the meeting they were talking to my son about independent living.

After the meeting, my son told me that he did not feel able to manage independent living and he felt he had been placed under pressure to say things that he did not agree with. I believe he repeated this to key worker at his placement.

I sent an e-mail the next day, expressing my concern that my son felt he was not ready for the jump to independence and that his vulnerability (which had led to arrest and sectioning in the past) was still a major concern for me.

Today, one of the managers of the placement phoned me and said they had not had a response from the council with respect to the request for funding and if they did not receive confirmation soon, my son would be given notice. The manager asked me if I would contact a representative of the council, expressing my views.

I feel a little like I am in a cat and mouse game that is a little above my head and that the issue here is not (just) my son’s welfare but money. However, I am also scared that notice will be given and my son will face a situation similar to the one he faced a year and a half ago when he was abruptly discharged from a CAMHS unit and there was nowhere to go. I spent four months managing two very disturbed boys (my son and his younger brother) on my own at home. At that time, because my son was 17 and under a child protection plan, we got some help (not a lot.)

Please can you help me to decide what to say in my e-mail to the council. Should I argue that my son needs the extra support in his provision, for example? If so, how do I evidence this? I just do not really know where to start.

I think it’s wrong you are being asked to do something you are unhappy with.
Simply tell the council your fears and concerns about your boy and how it isn’t right he is being put in this position.
It’s not for you to comment or know what the costs are.
If he is doing well in that placement then he should stay there.

I fear this may build into an official complaint at some point so make a record of everything said while it is fresh in your mind. Note all contacts etc. both with the provider and the council.

Does your son have an advocate or a solicitor? If they contact council it may carry more weight than anything from you.

Sadly it’s not untypical that even once a placement is found it then has to be fought for, or moves fought. Even if we as parents have been relieved of the daily care we are still needed as champions and fighters

I’m appalled that the meeting was hijacked. The social worker should have immediately taken control and asked the gate crashers to leave the meeting immediately. His failure to do so has clearly affected your son, who has enough to deal with already.

Yes, I agree. I feel there is so much wrong here. In fact, my son was saying things that showed clearly he felt his placement was in jeopardy because of his ‘behaviour’. It was wrong in so many ways.

I think this is why I am finding it so difficult to draft a response. Normally, I will present my son’s case quite openly and I will express my views quite rationally, but I feel a little trapped here. The manager of the home has told me that they want to support my son into the most appropriate next placement and that it would be disastrous if the wrong placement was provided. However, the manager states that without funding, notice will have to be given by edict of the company that owns the homes.

The council are saying that the request for funding is unreasonable, especially because my son is off site so much (he cycles down to my brother’s farm and spends hours with the barn cats, often not returning to the home until very late at night when the sleeping night staff are in bed). This habit concerns me and concerns his uncle, because he arrives at the farm dressed inappropriately for the weather and he has stayed until 1.30 am in the old pig sty where the cats live. He also gets very anxious and inadvertently challenges his uncle.

I am experiencing a whole range of conflicting emotions: guilt that I cannot provide a home for my son; fear that he will be rushed into an emergency placement that will put him in danger; anger that I have been placed in a position where I feel what the home is asking is a little unreasonable, but my son is sort of settled there and anxiety that if the funding is secured, the providers still will not do simple things like make sure my son has a coat on when he goes out, help him with budgeting (his account is always bombing and he frequently asks me for money) and actually try to source an appropriate next step.

Pragmatically, I am planning to draft a response which supports my son’s need for 1:1 support for a measured time. During this time, the support should be used to help my son gain the skills he needs to live more independently. This means:

Support to help him source and accompany him to activities that would allow him to build up a network of contacts and occupation outside the home, so that he is not isolated when he leaves and to cut down on his trips to his uncle’s farm

Support to actively help him to budget.

Support that will help him re-engage with education, training, voluntary work.

Support to help him regain a positive relationship with his family.

Prompting to ensure he is eating healthily and dressing appropriately.

I also think there should be some sort of accountability built in here so that we can see exactly how the support is being used and the impact it is having on my son.

My son is 19 and has Asperger syndrome and I think the fact that he is a young man who has the potential to live and work independently should be a driving force here,