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Thursday, 23 May 2013

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

About two months ago we get referred to Social Services due to my son's open drug usage with young children in the home. Finally, about a month ago we had our initial visit. We were told after a gruelling 2 hours that we need to sit down together as a family and play some board games, makes lists of the positive and negative but focus on the positive. Seriously?
"Hi son, you're high again? Cool, lets all sit down and play Monopoly"!!!
We were also told that there would be a referral made to Family Counselling and that the Social Worker is not sure if he will see us again.


About 10 days or so later Mr Social Worker comes to visit us again bringing a student Social Worker along with him. Is this because of her wealth of experience and knowledge or is it to use us as human lab rats? I am not sure, but say it is OK as I have kept myself open and always tried to be accommodating. The only input the student had regarding my 18 year old's behaviour (which through long term drug use has consequently been altered) is that it sounds like autism!!!! Ha have been reading the wrong textbook before our visit! Mr Social Worker says no, no, it is sibling jealousies and negative reinforcement.

Ms Student says she will contact our primary school to possibly do sessions with my youngest and that she will liaise with my middle child's school counsellor to see if she needs to have sessions with her as well. She will be in touch and also put some literature in the post for me. She never did either one.

Two weeks go by. Nothing. I get a missed call and voice mail from a woman from an organization "Parent Aid". I am very busy and did not get back to her immediately. Mr Social Worker is then calling me, leaving one voice mail that he "urgently" needs to speak to me and then continues to phone without leaving messages throughout the day while I was involved with a school trip with young children. Upon returning home later in the afternoon I find a note slipped through the letterbox that Mr Social Worker had also come by the house looking for me. I phone him, what is so urgent, I am anxiously wanting to know. Well it seems that I have not returned Mrs Family Counsellors call from 2 days ago!!!!

I leave the Family Counsellor for another day or two, after all we have been waiting weeks, and in that time I received a professional letter from her asking me to contact her. I phone on the first number on the letter, no answer and just voice mail saying "the person you are trying to contact is unavailable". No message left as I thought I will ring her on the mobile number next. Ring mobile, no answer, left voice mail for her. Later I get an "unknown" phone number calling me. I answer the phone, "Hello". A man on the other end of the phone barks at me, "Did you call me?", "No, you called me". It goes on and on, "But did you call me?". After repeatedly saying "I did not call, you called me and by the way who am I speaking to"  he explains, "I did call back and you called me". I said, " I did ring a number earlier today trying to contact a Mrs Family Counsellor"...."Oh yes, she is my wife and this is the home number"!!! Oh my God. How UNPROFESSIONAL is that????

So I wont bore you with all that happened but in the end I complained to Mr Social Worker regarding the unprofessional behaviour of the woman he referred us to, I also told him that Ms Student has not followed through with what she said she would do. He did not seem too surprised or interested or helpful. This was last week.

Yesterday my youngest child comes out of school saying that she was taken out of lessons to talk to Ms Student! No one told us this was going to happen on that day...Hell-lo, a little notice would be a normal professional courtesy. I spoke to the school after hearing this from my daughter and they tell me that they have been told that I was informed about the visit. I was also told by the school, and this is only after my inquiring about what happened that day, that my child will be seen every two weeks at school by another person who we have not even met!

Ms Student did not liaise with my other child's school counsellor, that child is in High School and not Primary School as my youngest. Ms Student was told by me on our one and only conversation a month or more ago that she does not need to do work with her because she is comfortable seeing her counsellor and does not need to be disrupted more from classes. She agreed that she would only talk to my child's counsellor. Late yesterday afternoon I  received a call from the High School that they were called by this student and she is coming in the following day. Great!

More good news. I find out that the so called "Family Counsellor" that Mr Social Worker referred us to is not a counsellor at all. She is a self employed family mediator who is contracted out by Parent Aide which is an organization to help predominately single parents with poor parenting skills and this woman has had no training on substance abuse and how that affects members of the family or counselling  I was laughing to myself that this process of seeking help for my son who has become a drug addict (for lack of a better term, and he also considers himself to be an addict) and comes from a loving and support home has turned into such a farce!

Of course, it is not funny at all, but really I had to laugh to myself. So I asked Mrs Family Mediator, aka Family Counsellor, NOT, that how would she advice me on my parenting and communication skills when our "disagreements" are all centred around drugs? I gave her scenarios such as, "Arguments often stem from my discovery that my son has stolen from me to buy opium", "My son will shout and swear demanding that I go out and buy him alcohol" "My son gets abusive following a red mist phenomenon from his opium"....her response, "I will have to check with my supervisor".

I am not perfect. I said yesterday I felt I did nothing wrong, well I meant in the BIG PICTURE my parenting was not bad. Of course we all do things we later think we shouldn't have done or that we could have handled situations differently. Now, I am having lots of those moments when I think, "I should have been tougher". That is no good to me now. I thought that professional help would be the best way forward, however it seems we have not found those professionals, yet!