LAC review updates and Good News
I've just come out of our LAC review slightly gobsmacked. Not least because it was our first one that clocked in under three hours (by five minutes, but still!) but because it seems that people have actually listened.
I feel a bit as though my chronic preparation for the meeting may have been a bit unnecessary - nobody mentioned the email I wrote yesterday outlining the main points I wanted to cover, for example - but, sure enough they were discussed, and what's more, people had actually come to the meeting prepared with solutions.
By far the most surprising was that Social Services said they would like to offer us four hours per week of respite, to take the form of someone coming in to our home after school to give us a hand. We have been asking for respite for the best part of a year and had been told categorically no on many occasions, so this is *huge*. Next step is taking this to their senior managers and resource panel to get it approved; I may have subtly interjected at this point to ask for a timescale to be set on this, and it was agreed they would aim for the panel being held the week after next. And what's more, Tickle's Social Worker was observed talking to the school nurse about coordinating services, with the nurse arranging the personnel once the SW had got the funding approved. Nothing short of miraculous.
The other difficult time of day for us is mornings; Tickle wakes at 5.30am so needs entertaining for nearly three hours before the taxi arrives to take him to school. Tickle's school doesn't have a breakfast club, *but* the Deputy Head has spoken to the mainstream school that they share a site with and they are happy for Tickle to attend their breakfast club, with a 1:1 helper. SW is going to request transport, and school are going to advertise for a helper, who we will pay for using Tickle's DLA. Amazing.
We've been building up to having an overnight stay at Gran's house, but have been a bit put off by having to get written permission every time. But wait, what's that you say? SW is going to visit Gran's house on Monday to approve it as somewhere he can stay without permission? That's incredible!
And it doesn't even end there. It was agreed, in a roundabout, tactful sort of way that the Adoption Support Plan is not worth the paper it's written on, so I have a meeting with SW and colleague in a couple of weeks to go through the whole thing and scrub out the bits I don't like, and put in some extra bits that actually relate to the support we need. You know, like it's actually supposed to be.
And it's been recorded that we're unhappy with the Virtual School and the way they've handled things.
And they're going to sort the LifeStory book (though I'm not holding my breath on that one).
And our lovely therapist came and interjected at just the right points with some insightful psychological comments that supported what we'd said.
And Tickle's lovely new teacher came and described a behavioural incident she'd observed in class that was exactly the same as we'd described at home, including him not really knowing he'd done it afterwards, and *that* is worth a hundredweight of gold because not only is someone else corroborating our account of things, it's an actual *professional*, like, a qualified, experienced teacher. Gosh, I wish I was one of those. <cough>
And our Social Worker couldn't make it but sent her lovely manager along, and in the midst of all this she spoke up loud for Fairy, and it was agreed that our therapist is going to find another therapist to see Fairy for a little bit.
*And* adoption Support have already put in another application to the ASF so that we can do the next phase of our therapy without a gap.
*And* everyone agrees that contact isn't in Tickle's best interest at the moment so we're not going to be pressured to go ahead with it. This is such a change from Horrid Social Worker who used to tell everyone very loudly that it had all gone fine and the boys had both enjoyed it.
All in all there were nine professionals in the room today. Husband and I left feeling more than a little dazed. I'm still not sure I will quite believe it until it's happened, but I think we are one step closer to getting some help.
It's been agreed that we'll have another review before court (which means Annual Review, PEP, and LAC review all in the next half term..) so we can make sure everyone is happy with everything. I'm still tentative, but I think there's a chance we might actually get this sorted. Now could someone please pass me the gin..??