social services support

WPCTS

Navigating the Rising Tide: How to Handle Increased Risk of Social Services Reporting

At When Push Comes To Shove, we often receive calls and emails from concerned parents who are facing referrals to social services. We understand that this can be an extremely daunting and overwhelming experience, making you feel isolated and unfairly judged. Our mission is to offer you unwavering support during these challenging times.

We specialise in providing advocacy services, particularly in the areas of maternity care and the postnatal period. Our team is highly knowledgeable in the field of human rights concerning pregnancy and childbirth. While we are not lawyers, our extensive experience in these matters has led to a remarkable track record, with the majority of our cases resulting in the dismissal of unnecessary referrals after our involvement.

Although we are not equipped to offer legal advice, we are committed to guiding and supporting you through these trying circumstances. In collaboration with the Autonomy hotline, we also provide specialised support when needed.

Our assistance covers a range of scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • Referrals to social services due to choosing freebirth
  • Misunderstandings related to birth notifications
  • Decisions to decline vaccines or NHS maternity care
  • Choosing not to register with a GP while homeschooling
  • Opting out of medical interventions during pregnancy, and declining hospital stays. We’re here to help you navigate these situations with confidence and support.

We’re here to help you navigate these situations with confidence and support.

Quick Start Guide

Prevention

To enhance the efficiency of our services, we’ve created a concise Quick Start Guide. This guide is designed to assist you in making informed decisions during your pregnancy journey, especially if you are considering a wild pregnancy and freebirth.

Understanding that prevention is key in avoiding unnecessary involvement with social services, it’s important to know that while you are not legally required to engage with healthcare providers during pregnancy and birth, healthcare professionals may still report your birth choices to social services if they believe these choices pose a risk.

To mitigate the likelihood of such referrals, we recommend proactively sending a letter to your healthcare trust. This letter should clearly state your birth choices and assert your legal rights to make these decisions. This approach has proven to be an effective strategy in our experience.

 

You can find templates for these letters on our sister website, Artemis Academy. These templates are specifically designed to help you communicate your decisions confidently and legally.

 

What to do if you have been referred

If you find yourself referred to social services, the initial and crucial step is to understand the reasons behind this referral. It’s vital to exercise your right to make a Subject Access Request to the party who made the referral. This legal request will compel them to provide all information they have about your case.

When drafting your Subject Access Request email, it’s advisable to incorporate a formal complaint within the same communication. This approach streamlines the process and ensures that all your concerns are addressed together.

If your email is directed towards a hospital that referred you during your maternity care, it’s important to identify and include the relevant recipients. Look for the email addresses of the consultant midwife or head of midwifery, as well as the chief executive of the hospital. These are key individuals who should be informed of your situation. A simple google search will likely reveal their details, but failing that simply call the switch board / operator at the hospital and ask for their details.

In addition to sending your email to these specific hospital contacts, you should also cc info@whenpushcomestoshove.co.uk and enquiries@aims.org.uk. Including these addresses demonstrates that you are not alone in this; you have support from organisations that are knowledgeable and influential in this field. To learn more about AIMS please click here. This can often encourage the recipients to handle your case with the appropriate level of attention and care, knowing that there is external oversight and interest in your situation.

For your convenience, we’ve prepared a template letter to assist you in drafting your own personalised request. It’s available for your use and can be a valuable tool in gathering the necessary information about your situation.

Template letter

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to formally express my deep concern and bewilderment regarding the referral to social services following the birth of my daughter on {insert date}. As someone who has never had any prior involvement with social services, I find this sudden and unexpected action both alarming and distressing. Considering the appalling communication I have encountered and the apparent confusion about the appropriate point of contact, this letter is intended for any relevant individuals who can help piece together and address these issues.

Throughout my pregnancy, there seemed to be a lack of significant engagement or interest from healthcare services, which makes the recent referral all the more surprising and concerning. This abrupt shift in attention towards my family’s well-being, without any apparent justifiable cause, raises serious questions about the protocols and decision-making processes within your organisation. I diligently self-notified the birth of my daughter within the legally required timeframe as outlined by the Notifications of Birth Act 1907 , expecting a seamless and supportive process as stipulated by the National Health Service Act 2006. Despite my proactive approach, the response from various NHS departments has been disorganised and lacking in clarity. This miscommunication culminated in an unwarranted referral to social services, further compounding my distress.

In light of these events, I am seeking a detailed explanation as to which specific safeguarding thresholds were considered to have been met in my case that warranted such a referral. As a responsible parent who has diligently complied with all legal and healthcare obligations, I am struggling to understand the basis for this action, which seems to contravene the principles outlined in the NHS Constitution and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Furthermore, as per my rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I am making a Subject Access Request for all data pertaining to my case held by your organisation. This includes, but is not limited to:

● All records of communication between myself and the NHS departments involved in my postnatal care.

● Details regarding the decision-making process for the referral to social services, including the names and professional registration numbers (PINs) of the individuals involved.

● Any other relevant information or data related to my case.

Please note that under the GDPR, you are required to respond to this request within one month of receipt. If additional information is required from my end to facilitate this request, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address or via email.

The unexpected and seemingly unwarranted referral has caused me significant distress during a time that should be focused on the well-being and care of my newborn. An official apology for the undue stress and confusion caused would be appreciated.

I trust that this complaint will be taken seriously, and I expect a prompt and thorough response to both my inquiries and Subject Access Request.

In conclusion, I earnestly hope that any future communications regarding this matter will be conducted with the utmost dignity and respect that I, as a patient and a new mother, rightfully deserve. It is imperative that my human rights, as well as the commitments outlined in the NHS Constitution, are fully upheld. This includes ensuring that I am comprehensively informed about the care and decisions pertaining to both my baby and myself. Regrettably, up to this point, I have been left in the dark, leading to feelings of deep deception and neglect by a system that should be providing support, not additional stress during this critical time.

Please understand, this period in my life is one where I should be focusing on recovering from childbirth and forming a vital bond with my newborn, rather than being compelled to write letters to defend myself against an accusation that remains unclarified. The lack of clear communication and transparency has not only been distressing but has also detracted from this precious time. I will never get this back.

Therefore, I strongly request that all future correspondence be conducted in writing unless I’m legally obligated to otherwise. This will ensure clarity, prevent any ambiguity, and maintain an open and transparent dialogue. It is my sincere hope that moving forward, the communication will reflect the professional standards expected of your organisation, allowing me the peace and space necessary to care for and bond with my new baby.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Sign Name

Remember, the way you approach this situation is critical. We advocate for the use of the Socratic method, which involves asking strategic questions that compel the system to disclose information, sometimes in unexpected ways. This method can be highly effective in shedding light on the rationale behind their actions.

Additionally, it’s important to gather the names of individuals involved in the referral. For instance, if a midwife referred you, ask for their Professional Identification Number (PIN). If you believe the referral was unjustified and coercive, you have the option to report this to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for abuse of authority, should you find it necessary. This step can be an essential part of asserting your rights and challenging any unwarranted actions taken against you.

After sending your email

After sending a robust and well-informed email, you might observe a shift in the response from the concerned authorities. It’s common to see them re-evaluate their stance, which can sometimes lead to them issuing an apology. However, each case has its unique complexities, and you might find yourself needing additional support.

If you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We encourage you to reach out via WhatsApp using the provided link, so we can schedule a time to discuss your situation in more detail.

It’s crucial for us to highlight the importance of transparency and honesty in our interactions. Our ability to assist you effectively hinges on having a complete and truthful understanding of your circumstances. While factors like a history of domestic violence, previous prison sentences, or past involvement with social services may complicate your case, they do not render it unmanageable. We urge you to be forthright about your background, as this honesty allows us to provide the most effective support and guidance for your specific situation.

 

Cost of services

In most cases, our advocacy services are offered at no charge. We believe in providing support and guidance without placing financial burdens on those who seek our help. However, there are instances where extensive involvement is required, particularly if one-on-one Zoom consultations are needed that extend for at least half an hour. In such cases, we may request a fee to cover the significant time commitment involved.

Outside of these specific scenarios, we operate largely on a donation basis. Your contributions are greatly appreciated, as they enable us to continue our work and support vital initiatives like the Beverley Beech Project. If you’re interested in learning more about this project and how your donations make a difference, please follow the link provided to explore further. Your support helps us sustain and expand our efforts to assist those in need.

Empower your journey

If you’re interested in exploring additional resources, we offer a variety of template letters that can guide you through challenging interactions within the maternity care system. These templates are crafted to showcase effective strategies for setting clear boundaries and asserting your rights with confidence. To access these examples and gain insights into navigating the maternity system assertively, please click here. These resources are designed to empower you with knowledge and techniques for handling complex situations effectively.

Woman on laptop contacting when push comes to shove

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