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Accessing Funding for Therapy

Moosehat September 8, 2019 14:45

This is my first post on the forum. Hello everyone and I want to apologise in advance for what is likely to be a long post 😄

I'm hoping for some advice and guidance. I have an 8 year old (nearly 9) adopted son who was placed with us six years ago. He is a wonderful boy who is often genuinely lovely, but he has some very significant issues. He suffers from Attachment difficulties and problems with Sensory Integration. There are also strong indicators that he suffered sexual abuse whilst living with his birth family. He may have a secondary disorder such as ADHD, although this has not been diagnosed.

All of this translates into some pretty shocking anti social behaviour which include an obsession with weapons, a complete inability to regulate himself emotionally and sexualised behaviours both at home and at school. Due to his obsession with weapons, we have to keep any dangerous items under lock and key and at all times. He has threatened to stab me or cause harm to himself on many occasions. He has brought knives into school and on one occasion he threatened our neighbours children with a screwdriver. We also have to look at innocuous items and assess their capacity to be turned into weapons. For example, pencils, paperclips and pencil sharpeners also need to be locked away as he will use pencils to stab, he will unravel paperclips into a sharp piece of wire and he will remove the blade from a sharpener. We cannot keep photos in a glass frame, as he will smash to glass to obtain a lethal shard. The list of things that my son can make dangerous is endless, and frankly we can't keep on top of it. He needs significant therapeutic interventions to overcome his issues and if he doesn't receive the help he needs soon, it is a foregone conclusion that he will cause genuine and significant harm to another human being. This is more than a likelihood. I would say it is a certainty.

His sexualised behaviours have also escalated. His school have created a report containing a long list of sexualised behaviours he has been displaying there for nearly a year and these behaviours include exposing himself and touching others genitals (both pupils and staff), but recently those behaviours have gained traction at home as well. Pretty much every day I have to stop my son from either trying to touch my private parts, or trying to force my hand down to touch his. I can now only have a shower when my son is not around or when my husband is available to guard the bathroom door, otherwise my son will unlock the door from the outside and barge in. When going to the toilet, I have to keep my foot against the door to stop him barging in. He needs help with this as well to prevent him posing a sexual threat to others as he gets older.

There is more. Pretty much every day since he was placed with us six years ago, he has physically attacked us. This wasn't so much of a problem when he was three, but he is now bigger and stronger and these days he does hurt us when he attacks. Now, after six years of domestic abuse and with the problems escalating, we are getting dangerously close to breaking point and our capacity to remain calm in face of it is rapidly deteriorating.

Two years ago when my son was 6, we got an psychological assessment done via the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) funding. However, the assessment wasn't done properly as the LA instructed the psychologist to do the assessment in half the usual time to reduce costs. Following that assessment, I then wanted to progress with therapy using a company called Family Futures, but the LA refused to refer us to Family Futures on the basis that they would be too expensive. So we found a cheaper alternative practice, and we progressed therapy with them. However, it did not go well. They did provide us with some excellent training in parenting techniques that have proven extremely helpful in containing our sons behaviour at home, but the actual therapy was a disaster and didn't help my son one bit. The therapist was not fully qualified in the therapy my son requires and was frankly out of her depth in dealing with his very complex issues. In short, the therapy was doing more harm than good, so after year we terminated therapy with that practice. This did not go down well with our LA.

We have since had another psychological assessment done for our son, and this time the assessment was done by Family Futures (the practice we originally wanted). However, their recommendations for therapy cost far in excess of the Adoption Support Fund fair access limits. The costs are estimated at around £30,000 for the total therapeutic package (i.e. not £30k per annum, but £30k in total). So we are now in a position where we need the local authority to match fund the surplus £25,000 with the Adoption Support Fund. However, our local authority have taken the position that they will not match fund under any circumstances. I had hoped that we might be able to suggest a three way funding partnership, whereby the match funding could be split 3 ways with us, the LA and the ASF, but it turns out that the Adoption Support Fund will absolutely not match fund with adoptive parents. They will only match fund with LA's. This is an insane position to take and it puts us in a terrible position, because we absolutely cannot afford to pay the full £30k for therapy. However, we probably could rustle up £8,500 if the therapy costs could be split 3 ways.

I don't know what to do here. Without this therapy my son will not improve, and given that he is fast approaching adolescence there is a very good chance that he will in fact get worse. I can clearly see a situation whereby in 3 or 4 years time, we are calling Social Services and asking them to remove our son from our home. It will then cost the LA £50k per year to keep him in care until he is 16. Yet here we are asking for a one off payment of around £12k (if the match funding is done entirely by the LA), yet they are taking the position that for financial reasons they will not match fund under any circumstances. I have considered offering to split the LA match fund on a 50:50 basis, so that the ASF pay £12K of the surplus and the other £12k is split between us and the LA, but I don't think they're going to go for it.

I'm sorry to send such a long post, but I have tried calling the Adoption Support Fund and our original Adoption Agency, but no one has been able to offer any helpful suggestions. I can literally see our family crumbling away before my eyes. Has anyone out there got any ideas?

Donatella September 8, 2019 20:41

Hi Moosehat. It sounds like a really difficult situation for you. I’ve no experience of some of the things you talk about but I know people who do and will be able to advise and support.

https://thepotatogroup.org.uk

They can support parents and children who are not yet teenagers. Id definitely recommend contacting them. They have a huge range of experience between the members.

Hugs x

Leo September 8, 2019 22:14

Hi, sorry to hear how difficult life is for your son - and subsequently you and the rest of the family.

I will try to PM you but haven't had success with this yet. You are welcome to PM me.

Orange September 8, 2019 23:19

Hi Moosehat,

It maybe a case of addressing the most pressing issues through whatever therapeutic input you can access in the short term as the battle for funding for your preferred option sounds like it isn’t going to be resolved easily or quickly. Your son has access to the nhs, request an assessment with somewhere like South London and Maudsley https://www.national.slam.nhs.uk/services/camhs/camhs-adoptionfostering/ or Great Ormand Street Hospital. A SLAM assessment will look at other comorbid conditions such as ASD and ADHD, ODD and Conduct Disorder in addition to attachment disorder. They will also give recommendations that are from within the NHS. The difficulty with assessments by ASF therapists is that they don’t really give access to nhs services like CAHMS and ultimately they may not be listened to. In relation to the sexualised behaviour school should be able to address this via a request into Early Help Services in your area - they are called different things in different places but sexually harmful behaviour in small children if deemed outside of the spectrum of age appropriate behaviour usually has some service provision for addressing this with the child. Has your son got an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan)? It sounds like he should have one and this may be a vehicle for obtaining input for him as sexually risky behaviour is something the school should be looking at addressing in order to safeguard him and his peers. In terms of Child to parent violence has you looked at NVR, this maybe available through your PAS Team. Also worth looking at is your post adoption support plan -were these issues identified at the time of the granting of the adoption order and what provision was put in place to meet the identified need? There unfortunatly won’t be one single provision that will provide the answer, more elements of many different services that each require a campaign to access. Keep chipping away as small gains add up.

Beebo September 9, 2019 03:36

What a difficult, distressing situation only made worse by the LA that should be there to help you.

A close friend of mine found himself in a very similar situation two years ago with his adoptive son, then of the same age as yours. His therapeutic assessment recommended a package costing £30,000 which the LA refused to match fund. In desperation he wrote a letter to the Head of Children’s Services outlining the complex difficulties the family was experiencing and stating in no uncertain terms that, should his son not receive the recommended therapy, the adoption would almost certainly disrupt.

Quite rapidly the situation was reassessed by the LA and they eventually agreed to match the funding.

I hope that your family is able to get the help needed.

Mojo September 9, 2019 06:56

First of all, can I just say, what a truly fantastic job you are doing. It must be exhausting!

I agree with Beebo ‘s advice.,

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