Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Parenting from a distance -am I even mum?

So I’ve been doing this parenting from a distance lark for a few months now and it’s hard! I never expected boy wonder to leave home at 18 but after a much needed emergency respite break with a kindly social worker then asking ‘are you going home or should I find you somewhere?’ which 18-year-old would say ‘I’m off home to me mum’ when finding somewhere means independence otherwise known as doing what I want when I want.

So with trepidation adult social cares Assessment of Need began. It was interesting. When boy wonder said ‘I can cook for myself but I’m lazy and let my mum do it’ that was accepted as true but anyway a tenancy was found in supported living with other young men and support staff available 24/7. This is where the fun began big time. Boy wonder then decided he wanted to live independently in our local town centre so the social worker duly started to look for a flat for him. This is where I got panicky!

Our local town centre is not nice and boy wonder is very vulnerable to exploitation and also neglecting himself in terms of his personal care and has few independence skills. It wasn’t going to work even with support going in to support him on a daily basis. He and I needs to know if he doesn’t turn up home someone will bother and will have risk management strategies in place to safeguard him as much as is humanely possible. Hmmm…..

This is where you start to wonder if you’re even mum anymore. I’ve been clearly told if that’s what he wants that’s what he can have (and I’m not the only parent not consulted) and it’s nothing to do with me or his current provider who also voiced concerns so this is what I’ve found out.

•An assessment of Need is used to document the needs of young people to see what care and support they requires to make life better.
•Under the new Care Act 2014 I should be consulted and have been included in establishing the correct care required for my son. This doesn’t mean I can make decisions for him though.
•There should be a care plan to work out how boy wonder can do the things that are important to him and his family with the right level of care and support. Boy wonder and his family should see this.
•Capacity is the term used to describe whether young people can make decisions for themselves. They must be able to understand and retain information, weigh up the pros and cons of it and communicate the information back thus showing their understanding. Young people are allowed to make unwise decisions but not unsafe ones, this too is tricky 

So to assess capacity , information and support should be given in a format accessible to the individual. They must be supported over a period of time to see if they can develop an understanding if appropriate.

This whole idea of capacity is tricky. Young people who’ve experienced trauma have to be assumed as everyone else is to have capacity. However… we all know they take risks, make unwise and unsafe decisions dependant on their emotional state and how regulated they are. This is due to wonky brain wiring as they may not have experienced bonding and caring activities in their early life which form the neural pathways.

So as it stands I am still fighting the system (yawn) as I have for 12 years to get my boys needs understood and met but now I’m fighting a different system. The reason I know the above is because luckily I have dragged in people who know more than me and they are willing to help and support. I hope it can help others too.

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