A while ago, I was discussing with a family member the array of social workers we have seen over the years. The reason the conversation began was that people in receipt of social services funding are being re-assessed and every possible corner is being cut and we were reviewed about a year ago. To this day, none of us have had any official word on what the outcome was. The thing that most astounded, but not surprised, me was the fact that one of my family had a phone call from yet another social worker they’ll probably never see asking for information on the assessment because they had not bothered to read their case notes.
I have lost count of the phone calls we have all fielded from social workers who have lost paperwork and want to do everything again, who are horrified that we have lives and aren’t available to be harassed at any given moment, the ones who think it is okay to accuse us of not sending fulfilling our side of the direct payments contract when they just haven’t checked the post. There are ones who expect us to drop everything for a meeting when they have a window. To minimise the stresses that come when you think you can have a life as well as receive support, we bend over backwards to accommodate their demands. But they don’t care. There was the social worker who decided they could cut 25 hour care packages in half because it was policy now. When challenged on this it became a piece of paper that was on her desk, then a memo, then a management decision, then a suggestion in a team meeting. Then she left and refused to return unless she had her manager with her who told me to drop out of uni and go to a day centre, and that ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ they would allow me to retain enough funds to attend two rock concerts I had already spent nearly two hundred pounds on – literally the 3 hour run time of each event, not the travel time, mileage, the overnight care needed, nothing. It was the comments he made to me and my family that drove my mother to tears and to throwing him out of the house. There were social workers who decided half an hour shopping time per week was plenty because, obviously I’d send somebody else who could do it quicker and never want to go myself, and ‘if you’re really, really clever, you can save them back and have TWO WHOLE HOURS at the end of the month’. It’s insulting. It was also a common thing for one social worker to be allocated to all the Maddocks’ and expect to get us all reviewed at the same time – together – not realising that even housemates need privacy. I don’t want my brother to know how much I struggle in the shower or my mother to know how much I actually drink. I found a solution though. I moved out.
Getting social services in this area to even talk to me was a nightmare. Today is not the time to go into that particular drama, although everything has been plodding along just fine once it got sorted out and signed off. I’m happy to have as little to do with social services as possible and, until my next review, they’re probably happy to leave me alone too.