200 days : a declaration

Today it’s 200 days since learning that our daughters’ birth parents had landed in our small town.  We are living a reduced, hypervigilant life. Every time we step out of the door with the girls we take a risk. Every time OH or I walk past the birth parents, they are totally high or drunk. Every day we scan the court reports to see if either of them have been imprisoned again. How desperate it is to hope that two other human beings will be imprisoned so that our girls can be safe! And what a damning indictment of the ‘caring’ services that we are still in this position, 200 days on.

The list of things our girls can no longer safely do in their own town is extensive. Go for an ice cream. Play in the park. Take part in concerts. Go to friends’ homes. Spend their pocket money.   Go to cafes and restaurants. Walk anywhere.  Take part in the Remembrance Day Parade. Go shopping with us. Use the sports centre. Go to kids clubs. Ride a bike. See the Christmas lights being switched on.  Visit OH at her work. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

Imagine being a child and not being able to do those things. How small your life would seem.  Heartbreaking, isnt it? Damaging too, when we’re constantly trying to help develop the girls’ attachment, confidence, social skills, and sense of safety.

A few weeks ago we finally got a completed risk assessment which, after months of battling, did not label or castigate us.  It says we’d be helped by having therapy.  We said ‘Yes please! We’d like therapy to help reduce the stress we’re under.’  Social work managers – the same ones who had signed off the risk assessment – said we couldn’t have it! The Social Worker had to ask them repeatedly, and then they demanded a report from our girls’ Clinical Psychologist about our stress levels before they’d agree to it!

Now The Adoption ‘Support’ Team are going further. They are refusing to even apply to the ASF for a sensory integration assessment for Bubble until our therapy is finished. Why? Apparently we wouldn’t be in a state to support her with it whilst we’re in therapy. But I’m currently supporting Squeak in her therapy, as they know. They tell me that’s ‘different’! And that they hope we ‘get over this crisis’ and then they will consider our request! 

Oh! And not forgetting their big fat ‘NO’ to respite so that we could have a break from caring for our disabled daughter. 

Why are we getting these responses from people paid to support adoptive families? The answer is simple. It is because we formally complained about their unprofessional and ignorant responses to our requests for support when the birth parents landed here. The big bullying local authority do what they always do when challenged: they become aggressive and intimidating.

So today, after 200 days of nonsense from the people who are paid to support adoptive families we are making a declaration: NO MORE!

We will no longer engage with petty, bungling and bullying bureaucrats who are so deeply mired in the flummery of this local authority that they have lost all sense of what social work is about. 

Like countless other adoptive parents, for the sake of our children we will go it alone. We want our girls to have fun, flourish, and grow up with confidence, believing that their horrific past does not determine their future. We can’t focus on that whilst we’re engaged in constant battles with workers who, far from doing what their professional registration dictates they should do, seem intent on increasing stress and trauma. 

So we’re stepping away. Far, far away from it all. We’re returning to living a considered life, away from the tangled, spiteful blundering of registered social workers who should know better, people whose job it is to protect and safeguard, and to promote the welfare of children. People who have lost any sense of the knowledge, skills and values that should inform social work practice, and who are instead engaged in punishing a family who has dared to complain. 

NO MORE!

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C.R.U.S.H. A Policy for Managers.

Managers! You have given long service to get to the position you have achieved.  You have embraced our philosophies; you are a ‘Yes’ person.  We Like ‘Yes’ people.  As a reward for being promoted to your level of incompetence we are now giving you an inflated salary, a desk away from the minions, and a copy of the Management Handbook.

As a Manager, you may have some vague memories of ethical practice.  Perhaps in the beginning of your Management Career you may sometimes find that concept hard to square with the need to protect our hierarchy. Don’t worry! With mentoring from an established Manager who is tougher and wiser than you, you will soon come to believe that Our Way Is Best.  Managers must stand firmly together, follow the True Path, consult the Management Handbook, and deny any wrongdoing. We WILL prevail!

Chapter 243 of the Management Handbook: The C.R.U.S.H. Policy

Occasionally there will be an experienced old hag who has expressed some concern about an issue. Don’t Panic! When a pesky minion such as this raises a concern, follow the C.R.U.S.H. Policy: Crush Rebellious Underlings Swiftly & Heartily.

  1. Ignore the concern – it may go away. Keep ignoring it.  There are three vital words here: Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
  2. If the pesky minion continues with the concern, continue to ignore the issue, but threaten them.  Make Sure you do this Privately. You may start investigating their practice with Absolutely No Evidence whatsoever. Accuse them, don’t question them.  Try to ensure that any official letters are not riddled with mistakes and factual inaccuracies. If the pesky minion has evidence to the contrary, bury it.  Don’t overly concern yourself with following policies and procedures – they are there for the minions.
  3. Deny the pesky minion the rights that all employees have.   If they work flexibly, take that right away. Don’t invite a union rep into any meeting you hold with the pesky minion.  It is usually sufficient to apologise at the beginning of the meeting that you had forgotten to tell them a union rep could have been present.  Blether on about ‘the Needs of the Service’.  Don’t worry about legislation or policies and procedures. Remember that most employees cannot afford a lawyer on the wages we pay them.
  4. If the pesky minion continues with their concerns, make a show that you want to listen to them by convening a meeting. Do Not Minute it, and do not bring the correct paperwork to the meeting.  It may be advisable to invite the Manager tasked with investigating the pesky minion to the meeting. Whilst we as an organisation cannot concur with Acas’ stance that this would be exerting ‘pressure’ or ‘gagging’ the employee, it may effectively silence them.  It’s probably best not to play with your Blackberry in the meeting. Remember to say everything your Manager has told you to say, and Do Not be tempted to go off script.
  5. Butter up the union.  The occasional round of golf should do it.  Put custard creams and bourbons out at meetings with them.  Consider upgrading from Maxwell House to Kenco.  Show them we’re all in this together. The sooner they stop supporting the pesky minion the sooner they can get back to their national campaigns which don’t concern us.
  6. Warn the pesky minion’s colleagues not to have any contact with them.  This should  effectively isolate the pesky minion from any source of potential support in the workplace. Remember to do this individually, and not in any forum which could be recorded – supervision will usually suffice.
  7. Usually you will find that the above actions will result in the pesky minion quitting. (Huzzah!) However, occasionally the pesky minion may find the resources to consult a lawyer. If this is the case, embark on the Campaign Of Compassion & Kindness (C.O.C.K. policy).  Ensure the lawyer and the union know that ‘you are happy that Managers are doing Everything they can to Support the pesky minion’. (You can use these words, but remember to delete  ‘pesky minion’ and try to spell the pesky minion’s real name correctly.)
  8. Never reply in a timely fashion to any letter or enquiry from a lawyer.  Remember! The pesky minion may not know that they only have 3 months to approach an Employment Tribunal.
  9. If the above actions have not resulted in the pesky minion resigning, use the P.O.O.P. Policy: Pile On Overt Pressure.  For example, if the pesky minion is off sick by this stage, call them into an absence Management meeting. Choose a softly spoken new Manager to politely  inform them that we can sack them if their absence continues.
  10. When Acas phone, remember to smile! Acas will hear the cheery supportiveness in your voice. Throw in a good word or two for the pesky minion. This may be difficult to do: some Managers jot down keywords, ready for such an occasion. ‘Determined’ may suffice.  As Soon as your phone call has finished, Contact Your Manager, who will Consult Readily And Promptly with our lawyers. (The C.R.A.P. procedure, only to be used by Senior Managers in Emergencies And Risky Situations (S.M.E.A.R.S.)).
  11. From this point forward leave the matter with our lawyers.  Don’t Panic! Our lawyers have a steadfast approach to Acas negotiations. If all else fails they will Resolve the Situation with 2 questions: ‘How Much Money do they want?’ and ‘Will they Write their own Reference?’
  12.  When the Pesky Minion is finally dispatched, attempt to refrain from  fist-pumping or dancing openly in the office.

 

Turn the page for Chapter 244: Advanced Policy: Start Humming If Things Horribly Explode (S.H.I.T.E policy).