Safeguarding – Perseverance, determination and collaboration pays off

Advocating for those in need can sometimes feel like an uphill battle when it shouldn’t have to be. Today, I want to share one such success story – a testament to the power of perseverance, determination and collaboration.

I began working with this family several years ago. A family of three, a mother and her two adult children, all grappling with health issues and suspected learning disabilities. Despite receiving support from various agencies, there was no long-term or ongoing support, so their situation always reverted back with concerns of self-neglect, possible financial abuse, benefits being stopped as they couldn’t manage their claims…leading to squalid living conditions, deteriorating health, and social isolation.

Referrals to Adult Social Services were made not once, but twice, only to see them closed down prematurely, leaving crucial issues unresolved. Feeling a deep sense of responsibility towards this family, I refused to accept defeat. With each closed case, my resolve grew stronger.

In April 2022, I made the decision to refer the family, with their permission, for the third time, determined to ensure that their concerns were not dismissed again. However, Adult Social Services once more closed the referral without adequate investigation.

I asked the investigating social worker to return to the property with me on a joint visit to go over their initial assessment again. At this visit I was able to use my working knowledge with the family to get a conversation going with regards to the problems they were facing. Unfortunately, the case remained closed. I was really worried for the family, both for their own health and wellbeing but also for the risk to their tenancy due to the condition of the property and I still felt that the matter hadn’t been properly investigated.

For me, this wasn’t acceptable. I sought support from Cheryle Fox, Safeguarding Advisor. Together, we persisted, challenging the decision and demanding a thorough review of the case. With the expertise of our in-house solicitor, Kathryn Harvey, we reviewed the case and felt that Adult Social Services hadn’t investigated this properly and had fallen short of meeting their own standards as set out by the local council.

After many letters, emails and phone calls the case was reopened, and this time, proper attention was given to the family’s needs. Each member was assigned their own social worker who are now all working collaboratively for their own needs and for the needs of the family. With ongoing daily support, the family are learning how to clean, cook, look after themselves and their home. They are all engaging with health professionals and undergoing tests and treatments for various conditions. Mum has regular visits from district nurses and their living conditions have dramatically improved and their tenancy is no longer at risk.

Two years of tireless work means the family are living happier and healthier lives thanks to our collective efforts to advocate for their needs and I am delighted with the result.

As I continue to be involved in monthly multi-agency meetings for the family, I am reminded that with determination, collaboration and living our values, #WeCare #WeAreInclusive #WeAreTrusted, we will continue to transform the lives of those most in need.