On Fridays it’s usually a quieter morning, so I like to do my diary notes, they are precise and to the point and focused on behaviours and achievements.
Tom is struggling, it’s been 2 years already since the referral went in and we are still waiting on a mental health appointment. He has suffered from severe anxiety since age 11 since his mother died, Father abandoned him, he has ASD and is a selective mute, the meltdowns are terrible, he changes quickly from one mood to another, he is a big strong lad and he is self-harming by cutting his arms.
He is known to CAMHS and has had several visits over the years since coming into Foster care, mainly because I am that pushy parent and I want the best for him- however it usually ended up with them telling me as he has ASD they couldn’t really help not unless he did something serious- ‘like try and take his own life’- Just carry on do what you are doing.
It seems every service we have is underfunded – every service is stretched to the limit, every worker is juggling more and more and with all this we are supporting him, but we feel we are letting him down although we are trying to keep him safe, and obviously we have had very good training around mental health- we are not trained therapists just Foster carers. I need to know that I am doing right by him when I try looking at different ways of helping him; it’s also tricky and very frustrating because of the selective mutism.
Tom doesn’t like communicating in any way other than, a no or a yes -by shaking his head or don’t know -shrugging his shoulders. Tom does have a worker, but not experienced in mental health as they are not Social workers. So between us we are doing the best we can because there is a massive lack of preventative and early intervention which ultimately means children get worse and need more help!
Now I have a bigger problem because he became a care leaver, this meant he needs adult mental health services- we got an appointment through and at the visit we were told they couldn’t help he needed more specialist help within adult services and then had to be re- referred and so far it has been 2 years!
I have read many posts about how children are being failed by the system but it’s even harder to get the services when they become an adult overnight. This young man is being let down again! We will soldier on for him to get the help he needs.
My thoughts are- the Local Authority has a duty to identify children under the children and Families Act 2014 but where is the duty of care when they turn 18!
Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer
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