From supporting and protecting those at the very beginning of their lives, to supporting and protecting those at the very end of their lives, and everything in between, Social Workers play a very important role in society.
It’s not an easy job, it’s challenging, and so are the people they deal with each day.
I have experienced a full range of social work, from our first introduction to social workers, which is what this blog is about, the second lot of social workers a year later, and then Essex County Council’s Family Solutions worker a year after that.
Also mental health social workers, and adult social workers.
This has never been a blog about hating social workers or social work as a profession, far from it.
This is solely a blog regarding what went wrong with Children’s Services, and then the parts of Essex County Council who are meant to deal with it, together with the absolute silence you get met with when something has gone wrong and you appeal to those in a position of power to help.
The social workers I write about are only a small selection of the social workers and other family workers we’ve had contact with and had help from.
I’ve even used the local authorities compliment system because of them.
We have social workers currently helping my family at the moment, and another doing a carers assessment on myself so that I can have help with my extensive caring role.
I have lied to that social worker, which I think she knows when I said i’d make time for myself and wouldn’t always put the needs of my children above my own needs. That isn’t going to happen, though she has the right of it, if I burn out, who is going to do what I do for my children?
Not to mention the countless other professionals who have been involved and who are involved, a lot of them employed by Essex County Council. My favourite professional in the whole world ever, which anyone who knows me in real life will know who this is, never let me sink.
Some of the most compassionate, hard working, and amazing people I have met have been social workers/family workers.
I have a lot of respect for social workers, I am a cheerleader for the profession.
Things went terribly wrong with us at the beginning, horrifically wrong, so wrong it almost killed one of my children, and left another two wanting to die.
Two of my children are still at risk from suicide.
It damaged all four children’s education severely, it damaged both their physical health and their mental health.
I am still continuously dealing with the damage from what happened from the child protection process.
The second lot of social workers were dealing with the exact same information that was available to the first lot. What they did differently was listened, listened to my children, read their medical histories correctly, and didn’t try to do anything but help. They didn’t put words into my children’s mouths, or things that didn’t happen into my children’s heads, they treated my children with respect.
I had to write my own timeline regarding my children though, Heidi failed to do it, and when I gave one to Kiran Box she tossed it aside telling me she didn’t read it.
What went so wrong the first time was a distinct lack of attention to detail by the assessment and intervention team, Gabriel Lowrie and Billie Faulkner. I don’t know if this is because they were in a sexual relationship at the time, I had no idea at the time that Gabriel Lowrie had a fiancee and Billie Faulkner had a boyfriend who she has been with since 2015 so they were cheating on their respective partners with each other.
Neither actually listened to what my children said, Gabriel would interrupt and wouldn’t let them finish talking, Billie brainwashed one of my children into believing they noticed something that would have been impossible.
I honestly, and rather naively, thought that it would all get sorted out in the child protection conference. I took enough evidence with me to prove that most of what was on the Section 47 report just wasn’t true. I went to get it out of my bag during the conference and Kiran Box said “I don’t want to see any of your so called evidence”, that is a direct quote, the exact words she said. If i’d been allowed to produce that evidence, things would have turned out differently at that time.
Then, because West Essex is not disability friendly, I was not allowed a break at all during the three and a half hour conference. I have bladder problems, as well as leg and back problems. I was taking diazepam and morphine, everyone saw me do this.
Kiran Box refused to listen to a word I said, actually I never really got to talk, she wouldn’t let me.
Then afterwards Laurette Robertson and Alison Barnes brainwashed me into believing my husband had sexually abused my children.
I’m actually planning to do a podcast or a youtube video, or something like that, especially focusing around Laurette Robertson and Alison Barnes, as the written word is one thing, but nobody would be under any doubt I am telling the truth if they can hear/see me talk about what they did.
Then things got even worse, especially the abuse by Heidi Hibbett. The covers up by Jo Prosser, Kiran Box refusing to look at my timeline/evidence/document for the second CPC.
Heidi Hibbett knew the truth, Heidi HIbbett knew that I was telling the truth, that my children were telling the truth and that the local authority had got it wrong. So did the family worker whose name is Trina, cannot remember her last name.
I told Heidi in graphic detail about what Laurette and Alison did, and it was clear she believed me.
The reason she did what she did, including abusing my children, is because one thing that Essex County Council cannot do is admit when they are wrong.
I am unsure how it works behind the scenes, but absolutely none of the social workers involved, both then, and up to the present day, will ever admit they did anything wrong.
Essex County Council will never admit that anything went wrong.
It’s because they all want to be seen as perfect. Far from being an outstanding children’s services, they are the opposite. They tick all of the boxes, and i’m fairly certain that our child protection case was deemed a success.
They started off with all these concerns about the children and turned it around so that there were no concerns about my children, that will have been marked as a success, will appear in their stats as a success, will be sent as part of the success stats to Ofsted.
Despite the fact that my children were ten times worse off when they had finished with us than before they started. The concerning behaviours were still there, except they were then magnified many times and so much worse. All of my children were severely traumatised, all of them were struggling. I was struggling, my husband was struggling. When social care closed our case as a success I was so traumatised I could barely function, let alone look after four children who were also so traumatised they could barely function.
I had a BMI of less than 16, I could barely look after myself, let alone my children. That is how they closed the case, that is how my family was when they closed the case.
There was absolutely no other services involved when they closed the case, so they knew that our family was receiving absolutely no help.
All of the help that I said was needed and was then agreed upon by professionals in a child in need review meeting on the 7th June 2019 didn’t happen, because the meeting now didn’t happen, there is no record of it and so what was said and agreed upon because ECC wiped it clean. That was Leanne Grant and Jo Prosser acting on behalf of Essex Children’s Services.
All of that because they refused to admit that things had gone wrong.
Jo Prosser received a safeguarding referral regarding Heidi Hibbett emotionally abusing my children, this was a referral made by two professionals after a disclosure by my children.
Given that a serious allegation against someone working with children had been made, the LADO should have been informed and a full investigation, including my children being interviewed, should have been done.
Essex County Council did nothing.
Then I raised a complaint about all of this. Essex County Council just made up reasons why they couldn’t investigate the most serious allegations. They went through five different false reasons, all of which have now been proven wrong, they then came up with something else.
Because it was a corporate complaint they can do whatever they want with it, they could have investigated it at any time, they could have investigated it 40 times, they could still investigate it now.
I contacted everyone in a position of power who I thought might help.
Cllr Louise McKinlay in effect called me a liar, Helen Lincoln didn’t respond, Gavin Jones didn’t respond.
All because Essex Children’s Services have a culture of success.
So the first theory that is put forward cannot be challenged, because they are all about success, admitting to failing or getting things wrong is not an option.
In our case it just grew from there, with absolutely nobody willing to even consider they had gotten things wrong. Even when it became clear, instead of admitting it, the dumped up. Given the trauma we had all been through, when they dumped us we actually needed more help and support than ever.
As their parent I was barely capable of parenting at that point given all the trauma i’d suffered. My BMI was below 16, I was extremely unwell, PTSD causing flashbacks multiple times a day, having to deal with that with my children as well.
Children out of education and absolutely no plan on even where to start with that. It was bad, really really bad.
The Best Professional in the World (BPW) then did a surprise visit, I was a mess, house was a mess, children were a mess. Children wouldn’t even talk to her as she was a professional. Suicidal children, we most definitely were not thriving, we were barely surviving.
BPW actually made a referral to social care that same day because she could see what a desperate situation we were all in and how bad it was for the children. That referral got refused, well obviously.
That’s what they did to us, caused us all extensive trauma and they dumped us with no help. While a meeting where professionals agreed help was needed has no record of what was said.
All because there is a culture of success at Essex Children’s Services. You cannot be seen to have failed, and after the first fail, which was the section 47 report, the second fail was the ICPC, then it all snowballed from there. Whenever anyone realised something had gone wrong they ignored it to stick with the narrative, otherwise they would be letting the team down.
That is why Heidi went in so hard on my children because she was responsible to get them to talk about everything that social care had decided had gone on, and the children wouldn’t because none of what they were saying had actually happened. So every single time my children said something hadn’t happened, or they did have physical problems, or, well anything, Heidi would go in hard on the child with the emotional abuse in an effort to get that child to say what children’s services wanted to hear.
There was no other way, once something has been decided, like the total rewriting by Gabriel and Billie about my children’s lives, you cannot change it, nobody will listen, nobody will look at the actual medical evidence or contact doctors.
The social workers act like they know more than the doctors so won’t contact them.
In any organisation failure has to be accepted, because that is how you learn.
A family traumatised and brought to their knees. A child attempting suicide, two more who were suicidal, to this day two are at risk of suicide because of children’s services actions.
Not to mention the lack of education, the neglect of their health by children’s services, being told to miss medical appointments by children’s services because “they weren’t necessary”, being plunged into utter poverty.
Absolutely no apology or even acknowledgement that things have gone wrong.
All of that and what has been learned by Essex County Council?
How to cover things up effectively is all.
Not how to stop it happening again, not how to protect future harm to children from the same thing happening, not maybe saving the life of a child, nothing that helps a child, or helps the social workers involved to grow, happened.
They celebrate every single little thing that goes well, on twitter and Linkedin it’s absolutely terrible. Failures just do not occur at Essex Children’s Services, there is absolutely no room for them, so they just pretend they don’t happen.
As we found out that is incredibly harmful, could still be fatal in our case.
Every single employee in a position of power who could have helped us, has ignored me.
Gavin Jones obviously being the worse, given he hasn’t given me an explanation for why he liked my post, my gut feeling is that he was mocking me and what i’d been through, knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
There is nothing I can do about any of it, nothing I can do about what we went through, and nothing to stop other children going through it either. Essex County Council have been crystal clear that they prefer hiding failures as opposed to learning from them.
I am a cheerleader for the social work profession and social workers themselves though. They are underpaid, they are overworked, even when they are off duty they are still thinking of their service users. They get a lot of strife, a lot of it undeserved.
It’s not just myself who have had problems with Essex though, i’ve spoken to plenty of people who have also had problems, I don’t talk about others stories out of privacy for those who speak to me in confidence.
There is learning to be had from our story, lots of learning. Obviously i’m continuing with my blog and social media, well until the point my social media gets shut down, that is always a bit of a risk.
I’ve got some of the more traumatic posts to write, which i’ve been putting off because i’m a bit of a coward.
There is also other stuff that I don’t publish.
I’ve also got some decisions to make.
My next plan is some kind of podcast.
The truth is evident in both the spoken word and even better, when you can see the person talking.
Aspects of our story, would be better served doing this. Lot’s of options on how to do it, I can do it as a podcast, with just my voice, or a youtube video, or I can be interviewed, would not be difficult to find someone to do that.
I do struggle with time due to my caring role, but I feel passionately that both the public, and professionals need to hear our story.
For learning purposes alone it is a case study in how badly things can go wrong with a cascade effect.
It’s also a fantastic case study into what the local authority shouldn’t do when things go wrong, considering one of the consequences of them coming up with 5 different reasons as to why they couldn’t investigate was my child’s suicide attempt, I believe that our story shows just how terrible the effects of attempting to cover things up can be to a child.
Even if there are other local authorities like Essex who only care about the death of a child because it looks bad on them, then at least our story would make those authorities like Essex think that preventing a childs death from suicide by investigating when things go wrong, might be a better plan than doing everything they can to get out of it.
Essex County Council sought to cover things up so badly they made a child in need review meeting minutes disappear, I believe that is actually against the law, but Essex County Council does what it likes.
Of course my motivation for doing all of this isn’t solely to help others, it is also to get justice for my children, they almost killed one of them, could still kill two of them, not to mention the severe trauma my children, and myself went through.
I’m just not going to stop doing what i’m doing until our story reaches as many people as possible, I want people to hear what they have done, I want people to express their horror at how a local authority can drive a child to a suicide attempt and not even investigate. I want to feel like our trauma, our pain, and the utter devastation to our lives, both then, and still ongoing, has been acknowledged.
I want people to criticise Essex County Council for their actions and inactions.
I want everyone to know.
The amount of people reading my blog has shot up, the amount of hits I get on Twitter is sky high, i’ve had 10,000 profile hits despite only having two people friend me,
I haven’t even yet sought out those who I need to friend and connect with to get my story to the right people.
I just want from the public what we should have gotten instantly from Essex County Council, that acknowledgement to my children that none of it was their fault, they all still blame themselves, an acknowledgement that things happened that should never happen to children, basically just that the whole thing was a screw up from start to finish.
Also, considering how badly Gavin Jones hurt me over that like on my post, I wouldn’t mind people finding out how Gavin Jones who is held in high regard as an awesome CEO, to the point he’s the CEO of two council’s, and leader of SOLACE or whatever, actually treats vulnerable residents, in my case by liking my post to mock me knowing there is nothing I can do about it.
So i’m basically a champion for social work and social workers.