Dee and Pam, our Portage Home Visitor and Inclusion Officer, have been in cahoots. Their concern is that the respite we receive is effectively temporary respite and can stop, as I previously mentioned, when funding runs out after 16 weeks, never to be given again. They think Sophia and I need a longer term solution to our respite issues and have asked me to consider going onto the Social Services side of Social Care who look after children and families until the child reaches adulthood (this has recently changed to be up to the age of 23) instead of being under the Early Years pre-school team. The advantage of going over to Social Services is that the respite that they cover is ongoing and whilst meetings are held every year or so to revue the respite in place, it doesn’t need to be reapplied for continuously if the social worker and team involved deem it necessary. It does, however, mean that Pam will no longer be working with us, even though as an Inclusion Officer, she works with both pre-school and school age children, but comes fundamentally through the Early Years team.
It sounds like a very sensible option for me to follow, although I will miss Pam as she has been a real pleasure to know since becoming involved with Sophia. Dee and she have had to put a case together to highlight my need and it’s strange, whilst I know I’m coping extremely well, I do reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaalllllllllly need the respite to continue into the future.
Archie, our prospective Social Worker, rang me to arrange a meet up. He came to the house to see Sophia in her home setting and meet with me and see how I’m getting on. He’s so young, I could be his mother! But he came across as a truly lovely, conscientious and caring person. I, however, must have come across as too capable because his report on our meeting was far too positive to merit my being on his case-load. Dee and Pam stepped in, saying that yes, I am coping, but that I need the ongoing respite to ensure that I continue coping so well. Thank you, thank you, thank you, ladies!
And so it is agreed. Archie will be our Social Worker and look after our social care needs, signposting us for the most appropriate help and guidance where applicable etc., and I will receive ongoing respite for Sophia from Dee and in holidays I will be able to have Dee look after Sophia for a whole day in order that I can spend the day with James.
It’s a funny thing, there is often so much stigma attached to having a Social Worker, as if it’s a sign that you’re a bad parent. Plus, there are the horror stories that you hear about on the news when things go horrendously wrong. But I absolutely believe that Archie has Sophia’s best interests at heart and I’m pleased to welcome him onto the Team.