Social Services – Understanding How They Screw You Over
The best approach to dealing with a Social Worker – DON’T. If you have a choice whether or not to get involved, avoid them at all costs. But if you DO have to deal with them, because a court has ordered it, for example, read this advice. Be bland. You are a regular person and you do regular, boring, family things. Social Workers are trained to “build a rapport” with their clients, in other words to befriend them. Do not fall into the trap of thinking they are your FRIEND. Here are some key points:
THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND. Sorry, I know I repeated that, but like all good education, repitition is important. You may have troubles, worries, problems but do not share them with a Social Worker. Not even if you are desperate. Ring The Samaritans or talk to a priest, anyone but a Social Worker. If you just feel a “bit down” the day you speak to them, they will write “clinical depression” in your notes. This is how it goes.
DO NOT GO TO THEM FOR HELP. I went to them for help because I have a disability. Right from the start, they were investigating me for “unintentional neglect”. There are lots of fancy documents, leaflets and Government Guidance, stating how Social Services should help you. Do not believe a word of it, even if someone well-meaning or a charity suggest it to you. Some charities make a lot of money out of their client’s disputes with Social Services, disability advocates included. The KNOW what will happen to you, but that is how they earn their living. On my page about Disabled Parents Network there is a video with some advice on how you can manage if you are a disabled parent. For God’s sake get an au pair before you even consider calling in Social Services.
If there is any deviation from what they consider “normal” (which is incredibly limited) they will pick up on it. So get used to telling them what they want to hear. Your child is in bed by 7 p.m and up by 7 a.m. They do normal things and have normal friends, play with normal toys and eat normal food. You will get the hang of why as you continue reading.
If you have pets, hide them when the Social Worker visits. Your friendly dog may be labelled “dangerous” or your cat may end up described as jealous of the baby and unsafe to be around. Yes, really. You will not find out until you get your notes and read with amazement what has been written about Fido.
Do not admit to being vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, juicing, or any other strange diet. They will start to accuse you of being “health crank” and neglecting your child by not feeding them a balanced diet.
Unless you can be certain that it will not be found out, vaccinate your child. For reasons unknown to mankind, Social Workers regard this as failing to care for your child’s health, in other words neglectful. Do not think a judge in any court will find in your favour, no matter what evidence you present them with. Being “paranoid” about vaccinations is (again) tantamount to being a crank.
If you admit to being religious, then you will be labelled a “religious nut”.
If you are politically active or support parties which are not mainstream, e.g. UKIP or Green Party, once more you will be considered a crank, or in UKIP’s case, possibly even a racist.
If you have any “needs” e.g. respite and you do not want to get care through Social Services, pay for it yourself and make sure the care is high-quality. Leaving your kid with Aunty Doris down the road (who isn’t your Aunt and drinks Special Brew) is not going to impress a Social Worker. Childminders are cheap and a good source of respite care, but check they are Offsted registered with a good report.
Try to keep your involvement with Social Services a secret, even from close friends. It is unfair but true that most people will start to think less of you as a parent if you admit it. They may even think “no smoke without fire” and that there is something to worry about. This means they may start to find / invent problems that nobody else would. You sent Junior out in a dirty coat? Neglect. Plus other parents may start to avoid you as they do not want to be associated, or risk their own kids coming under scrutiny.
If your family is unsupportive, do not tell the Social Worker and also keep your involvement secret from them. Many, many parents have been “setup” by their own disgruntled relatives making malicious allegations to SS. Best not inform your vindictive ex-partner if you are being hassled! He might ring them up and tell them you are a drug addict.
Home-schooling is another thing that Social Workers hate. Be aware that doing this will place you under immediate scrutiny. You will be inspected regularly. It is not for the faint-hearted. If you do not like the school system, you can always supplement by running your own additional lessons and letting them attend school as well. School, at least, is good preparation for what society is really like. Grown ups are not much different from children and the world is very like a playground full of bullies. Those bullies go on to become policemen.
If your contact with Social Services is light, then do not bother to inform them if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you have a casual relationship, they will try to paint you as “promiscuous”, if you have a more serious relationship, they will want to investigate that person (which could be the last you see of them if Social Services do not approve).
If you have no choice but to have regular Social Services contact, then be aware that they can and will use every avenue to spy on you and this is totally legal. As we have seen from my own case, they will look at your Facebook page and possibly even befriend you under a fake profile. They can ask your carer to write reports on you. Be extremely careful with carers and once again, do not regard THEM as friends.
It probably sounds totally obvious, but make sure there are no empties or over-flowing ashtrays when Social Workers visit. Your home should be clean and tidy. Think carefully about your choice of decor and what is on display. You really must present a bland, “model citizen” exterior. If you leave an empty wine bottle out, then you are an “alcoholic” if you smoke then you are a “chain smoker” and the cause of every cough and sniffle.
Be very careful if you admit to loneliness, sadness or any other negative emotion, this can quickly snowball into them suspecting you of “mental illness”. Do not think your doctor will neccessarily help you. They seem only too willing to break confidentiality and conspire with Social Services.
Unless you are involved in a court case, then never give them permission to access yours or your children’s medical notes.
If you have, in the heat of the moment, smacked your child, NEVER, EVER, admit it to a Social Worker. Junior is making it up. Learn about Time Outs or Grounding (for older children). Although it is perfectly legal to smack your child, it is very much held against you by any childcare professionals and certainly by the police who regard it as assault.
School Counsellors seem to exist purely for the sake of extracting / fabricating abuse allegations, whether that is emotional or physical. Do not send your children to the school counsellor. Confidentiality does not exist anymore. If it is suggested that you get counselling, pay privately and find someone who is not involved with the school. Do not give their details to the Social Worker. After all, that is your own business and counselling is private, right? Just make sure whoever you choose is properly qualified and registered with a professional body.
Playgroup Leaders, Nursery Staff, Health Visitors and Preschool Staff are all being trained in “Safeguarding” now, which means to say looking for signs of abuse. Be friendly with them, but do not start telling them your problems. All is fine – health, finance, familiy. Smile and nod.