TRANSITION TO ADULT SERVICES
I have always known that there is a difference between children’s and Adult’s Social Care provision, but the reality of this has landed in our lives. My daughter’s involvement with Adult Social Care and having a ‘named’ social worker has so far been brief, but I naively thought it would be ongoing for a while.
My daughter was allocated an Adult Social Worker 6 months prior to turning 18. She completed her core self assessment with the Social Worker a month before her birthday. PA hours and residential respite were agreed the day before her birthday. A couple of weeks later we received confirmation that the requested residential college placement had been funded for the 3 year course.
I was surprised last week to receive a phone call from the social worker saying she had been to see my daughter in school that day, and that she would be coming home with a social story of their work together and that my daughter’s case would now be closed to her. My daughter would be put on the ‘Annual Review’ list, and a note added that the review in her final year at college is to include next step decisions, focusing on supported tenancy. I asked the social worker how could her work be completed when my daughter hasn’t even started college? Her reply was that they no longer keep cases open once decisions are made and funding is in place. When asked who would attend the Annual Review, she replied it may be her, but that’s not guaranteed.
I understand the pressures placed on social workers, and the social care system in general, but to not see an individual through to being settled in the placement funded seems a little counter intuitive, both for my daughter, as the service user, and the social worker. This particular social worker completed a really good piece of work with my daughter, and it seems a real and genuine shame that she will not see the fruits of such work.
From her perspective, I find myself wondering where her job satisfaction comes from as she doesn’t get to see the positive outcomes of the hard work she has put in. How does she build meaningful relationships with the people she supports, if the cases are closed so soon? What happened to having a key person, a link worker or a lead to co-ordinate services that may be involved in a person’s life? It feels a very disjointed way of working. I know it’s all about demand and limited resources, there are too few social workers, too little money and too many in need of services.
I asked if there would at least be a follow up phone call in September/October time to ensure that all was well, and she replied no, but added, she would happily read an email updating her if I would be kind enough to let her know. It’s hard to not have contact with a professional who has completed a good piece of work, in a timely manner, with the outcome you hoped for.
I can’t help but wonder what the annual review will be like, if it is undertaken by a complete stranger, who does not know what my daughter was like a year ago. How will they know if the college placement is successful? They may have only read a report and (rather cynically, on my part), will see the whole thing as a tick box exercise until we reach the next stage of decision making.
Oh well, for now I shall sit back and smile at the fact that my daughter is in the position she wanted to be, which is planning her new adventure to residential college, and preparing herself (and us) to say goodbye to her current school and friends.