I’m Sorry

Posted: August 25, 2011 in About Me

I want to give you some insight into the work that I do and obviously I have to be confidential to what I say do to the nature of that work, but I want to take you back to Christmas 2009. This was a time in school that was filled with enjoyment and excitement by the children that they were going to get what they wanted that year from santa. What ever their wishes and desires they would most likely be filled. This wasn’t the case for me.

I sat in my office with the phone in one hand. In my mind I was thinking whether what I was going to do would destroy a family or offer the best for the children involved. I put the phone down. I waited for the school bell to ring and took myself to our head’s office. I sat there in one of the many chairs that filled her office and told her that I needed to ring social services. I told her that it was best for the children involved and that although we had supported mum in the best possible way that there was no other solution to the situation. These children needed to be either taken into care or be under tha care of someone else.

The date was Friday 18th December 2009. The time was approximately 4.30pm. I had to ring social services.

We closed the door to the Head’s office and she ask if I was ok in doing this, inside I wasn’t but in my heart I knew that it was the best that could be offered to these children. I picked up the phone and dialled the number. The woman on the other end of the phone answered and took the details of the parent, the children involved and the concern that I had. (I do not wish to go into details of what was discussed both for privacy and Child Protection purposes). I told the ‘operator’ on the other end that I felt that it was the best result for the children to be removed from the care of their parent and placed either under the care of an immediate family member of that of the Local Authority. I have only ever once had to make a call like this and on both occasions it has been heart-rending, but on this occasion more so due to the time of year.

I gave the ‘operator’ my personal contact details as I requested feedback from the senior officer on what would happen and for the fact that if they required further information what ever the time, day or night, then they could contact me and I was more than happy to answer any questions that they may have. No further contact was made with myself after giving my contact information for a further 4 days.

Suddenly one evening my phone rang. The woman on the other end, we shall call Sue, explained that a home visit had been carried out and that they were satisfied with what they had seen, even though the home visit had taken place at 1am!! As you could imagine I was not happy with this and insisted that further visits were carried out over the next couple of days which were agreed to and at times that the children would be awake or at least out of bed. This was agreed to.

Two days later I received a further call to update me on the situation. The children had been removed from their home setting and had been placed with a family member who was willing to care for them while their parent underwent further assessment and support in respect of getting their children back. It was an odd feeling. I was happy for the children in the fact that they had been removed from the setting they were subject to and that they were warm and safe with a familiar face, but on the other hand I felt that I had failed them. Failed them in my duty of care for their well-being in not ensuring that they were well looked after in their home life. That it had taken me so long to build up the courage to phone and say remove these children from the situation that they are in and place them in a situation where they are cared for properly.

I don’t want anyone reading this to think that their parent didn’t care for them, as they did. They just weren’t fully aware of what was expected of them by society and how they had to conform to rules and regulations. It was obvious that they were loved through the devotion that was upon them and that they loved their parent too through their actions and words. It was more the situation that they lived in that wasn’t right. It was this that led me to tell the ‘operator’ that either something was done about their situation or the children would come live with me until something was done. Whatever  the consequences for me, I couldn’t stand the thought of children in my care being in the situation that they were in.

Years have passed and I am happy to say that the children are very happy with where they are now. They live with a family member who knows that school are there to support them fully and if they are struggling all they need to do is come and let us know how we can help and if we can then we will. Many people think that school is about education for the children and do not see the support that goes in to families above and beyond the educational support. They do not understand that the doors don’t open purely at 9am and close at 3.10pm at the end of the day. They don’t see the anguish that goes into the support and care of every child that enters through the door and that their teachers and support staff take home with them the thoughts of each and every child that are within their care day in and day out.

What I wanted to say was that I am sorry. Sorry in the first place for having to make the call to have these children removed from te care of their parents but more importantly sorry for letting them down. One thing that I hate to think is that I have let any of the children in my care down.  I know in this case it was the best thing to happen as they now live in a clean caring environment where they are loved and cared for, although they are minus their parent. And if you were to ask me if history were to repeat itself and the situation was to rise again, if I would do what I did, then I would hand on heart say I would. I want the best for the children in our care, whatever that means.

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