I just want some help

I always thought the job of social services was to support and help vulnerable people and to encourage them to live as normal and healthy life as possible. From my experience this isn’t the case. To get an assessment done for myself, I had to wait three years and only after I called a local councillor did I manage to get a response from social services.

Finally I was awarded direct payments but it has taken over two months to receive my first payment. Not only that, but my social worker seemed to think she was doing me a favour by getting me the money – she kept telling me I am getting more then I should. By whose standards, I wonder. Is she in my position? Hell no!

When I am unwell and ask her to make a phone call for me, my social worker tells me it is not her job to ring people on my behalf.

So what exactly is her job? Sitting in an office judging clients and their circumstances? At first I thought it was to do with my skin colour because I am from Kenya but then I realised she is no better then me. I have a residence permit; she is here on a work permit.

This seems to be the attitude of public services these days, I go to the housing offices and when I get to the counter I say “hello” but don’t even get a glance back. The person is busy doing something else and pretends I am not even there. Is it so difficult for people to reply to a greeting? Why is everyone so sour?

Social services have told me I can’t get help with my daughter. I wanted to send her to nursery, so I can attend my hospital appointments, as I find it hard to cope on my own. If anything goes wrong social services will be the first to come and get my child. Why not help from the start to stop a person getting to that frustrating point?

Recently I wrote a letter to my social worker explaining how I felt about the way she deals with me. She wrote back about “the letter of complaint to this service” but it wasn’t to the service, it was to an individual and she shifted the blame.

Now, whenever I call the department it seems like staff think I am a bad client. Despite knowing their colleague has not been behaving correctly towards me they don’t want to get on her wrong side.

There should be a confidentiality pact where social workers do not discuss their clients as this can lead to other staff being biased against them. It is not only the client who suffers but so does the child.

My social worker has made me feel useless and helpless. I am still awaiting a reply from the social worker to hear why she has treated me like this and I’m still waiting for my daughter’s assessment.

Who do I turn to when the people supposed to be helping me and my child have no compassion? I am HIV positive and a single mum trying my best to cope. I had an abusive ex-partner and have come a long way. I just need that extra bit of help.


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