So earlier today I wrote a post about the problems we’d been having with social services, I’ve already got more to add to it.
In this one I’m going to talk about how health visitors need to drastically improve their training, and how social services need to quit pretending they are there to support families when they evidently aren’t.
In the previous post I explained the referrals we’d had, the lack of support and where we’d got to with child in need meetings. Ending with them threatening “further action” due to “non-engagement with professionals”, despite evidence that we were more than happy to engage with professionals – just not them.
Since I wrote that post we have spoken to the social worker’s manager, and to the paediatric consultant.
Social worker’s manager first, apparently if we don’t go to these voluntary child in need meetings then they will immediately put us on the child protection register.
I’m thinking we should be providing social services and health visitors with dictionaries!
How on earth is it voluntary if your only choice is that or punishment. Bearing in mind they’ve said themselves that there are no child safeguarding issues. How on earth can they justify this except as them having a tantrum because we’ve not caved in for them? If there are no safeguarding concerns, and we are willing and happy to engage with professionals, how can they say that non-engagement with them is a safeguarding concern? Seeing as they themselves have no ability to provide medication, initiate medical investigation, or offer any form of practical support? All they would be in this is a middle man between us and actual professionals who can help us, all we want to do is cut out the middle man and the bureaucracy. Given I have to juggle spoons all the time, it is beneficial to my physical health to simplify, not complicate, what I have to do. They might claim that they’d be somehow cutting out the work for us, but we’d still have to go to the same health appointments etc, just with these meetings on top to make sure we had gone to the appointments. What a waste of time and spoons.
But of course, we actually get no choice and have to go along to this “voluntary” meeting. Should I go armed with a dictionary?
On to the paediatric consultant, this was interesting.
They weighed our daughter, plotted her weight in her red book and said she was actually not too low a weight. Her weight was right on course with how it was when she was released from hospital, she could definitely do with gaining more weight, but her weight gain was actually steady and positive.
So why the confusion and panic?
Because the health visitors have been plotting it wrong. According to their calculations our daughter is below the 0.4th centile. If they’d have done it correctly though it would have shown she was actually between the 0.4th and 2nd centile. While this is below what she was at birth, it is the same line she’s been on since we got her out of hospital, so she is gaining at a steady rate, and isn’t a cause for concern.
As for why they were plotting it wrong? They were ignoring guidance that says that babies born at under 32 weeks gestation should have their weight plotted against their corrected rather than actual age. If you didn’t know this about preemies, you always go by two different ages for them. Their actual age – based on when they were actually born, and their corrected age – based on when they should have been born. So in my daughter’s case –
Actual age = 20 months
Corrected age = 17.5 months
Babies born after 32 weeks, but pre-term, stop having their corrected age taken into account when they turn one. This means a drop in their centile at that point, as they are essentially losing up to 8 weeks. But babies born before 32 weeks need to have their corrected age taken into account for longer as they take longer to catch up with other kids – unsurprisingly.
All of this panic about us not doing enough for her could have been averted if they’d actually been trained properly in how to handle premature babies at weigh ins.
At no point since her hospital admittance has our daughter actually dipped dangerously low with her weight, she’s made good progress all along.
I feel like I should apologise to the paediatrician too, we’ve been so worried by everyone else’s panic over her weight that we thought he was being negligent in not investigating more thoroughly, when actually he was looking at it more clearly than the others and seeing there was nothing to panic over.
Bet we still have to go to this meeting, but at least now we have his backing too. He’s planning on calling them and explaining everything, and has given us information to show the health visitors at weigh ins from now on.