Out hardest part of the year is always the last couple of months as birthdays (which trigger the children), Halloween (which scares Caitlin as she still has that young belief that things are real – and the props and decoration could burst into life and get her), fireworks (sensory nightmare) and Advent/Christmas (mega trauma trigger) occur. So to combine that with the aftermath of a safeguarding enquiry (see The Gap… Part 1) whilst fighting the LA for funding for the perfect school. UGH! If I wasn’t burnt out enough already, these months definitely added fuel to the fire! The LA were shocking. Delays, saying one thing toy face and doing another in action.
My sanity was saved by our Post Adoption Social Worker; this type of social worker can be referred to as a Family Support Worker because of the stigma attached to the phrase “Social Worker” but that is what they are, Social workers, however they aren’t there to judge the safety of the family (although they would definitely need to report and relay any safeguarding concerns) they are the contact point for support following the placement and adoption of a child. In some circumstances they will have very little contact with the families they are allocated to as they family are able to go on as normal. However, in cases like ours they may need to be heavily involved as the children’s needs require a high level of support and intervention that can only be arranged through post adoption services. She attended meetings with me, visited me frequently between meetings and generally acted as a sounding board, the fact that she was hearing and seeing the same discrepancies and lies from the LA and was as frustrated with the situation as I was made it easier to keep fighting for sure. And I have no doubt in my mind that her letter/email to the LA tipped the balance for us gaining funding. The letter wasn’t something she had to do, but was something I had asked her for, I never saw it but I know it highlighted the cost of a therapeutic foster placement on top of the school placement and pointed out that I was doing the job of multiple people with no respite… so at some point a family breakdown was inevitable and that was why we were so intent on fighting against it now. And I know she personally spoke to the LA’s SEND team on multiple occasions to fight on our behalf.
Mess ups within Logan’s process means I managed to back them into a legal corner, to avoid court (which I would have won as I had clear evidence of a lack of legally required action from them) they agreed to a tutor for him whilst the continued investigation, and hunt for suitable school provision occurred.
After 6+ months of fighting Caitlin got her placement at the school. She had about 4-6 2 hour transition sessions of school and then… BAM! Pandemic!