So the good news is, I'm told, having finally tracked down a temporary stand in special needs social worker, one necessary to help Sweet Sam's transition over from the "care" (a term I use loosely and laughingly) of child services, through in to the provision of adult services (when he turns 18 this year), that he is eligible to claim an incapacity benefit of £70 per week.
The bad news is, Sweet Sam has been eligible for this payment ever since turning 16 - except NO ONE thought fit to tell us.
Yes, I am as mad as hell. Know why? On his 16th birthday all of his transport services were completely withdrawn. Unlike most 16yr olds, Sam needs escorting to and from wherever he needs to be (his various social clubs and to his part-time college placement) requiring a responsible adult with him at all times. He's far too vulnerable to hop on public transport, be trusted to cross a road, or to be left unattended even inside, never mind outside of the home.
Couple that with a dad who works most of his time based off the island, and with two younger siblings whom (quite rightly) also require ferrying around to their various after school activities, I have been repeatedly asking and asking for some form of assistance to help me with Sweet Sam's frequent transport needs. Each and every time I've been told the buck rests firmly in my corner now, and I must drive him everywhere.
Without the input of my conscious effort, my son would be unable to attend his life-skills course at college, or to even have any semblance of a social life outside of the home. The very same agency who has repeatedly (and with sincere regret) assured me there is no help with transport available to us, has also been sitting on this little (costly £70 per week) nugget of information for almost two freakin' years now.
Great news, yes, don't get me wrong, I am overjoyed at this discovery - but WTF?? Why, why, why wasn't this information given to me as a solution to funding Sam's transport needs at the very outset? I can hire the regular help of a friendly cab driver with this cash. Du-uh.
Arghhhhhhhhhhh. Sometimes I honestly feel like pulling my hair out at the roots, at the incompetence and lack of care my lad receives from the very agencies meant to be set up to "aid" him through life.
I know I have been very remiss on posting as of late, but with the new year, a few distractions have also rolled in. My usually sunny lad appears to be encountering a spot of bullying at college, something he has never encountered before, and his emotions are all over the place. Appears he is not, as is required in his care plan, always supervised by an adult, especially over the lunch break in the canteen. Yes, of course I have been down there - several times, and after today (which I am too upset over to even begin to go into), I intend upon setting up another meeting to try to resolve this. To date, I am very disappointed at the dismissive attitudes I've met.
Hey-ho, sorry to be such a Debbie-Downer. Those who know me also know my posts are usually far more up-beat (which is why, having lost all sight of my sense of humour as of late, I've wisely ceased blogging for a bit).
I could rant and rant about at least a dozen other things concerning Sam's (un)welfare, like as to how next year there are plans to offer him training at a workshop for the disabled, involving one, or if we are very, very lucky, perhaps two days a week. It will teach him to make wooden limbs for third world countries, or how to recycle aluminium (depending upon his abilities) . The irony is, once the year is up, he will not be offered any employment there. There are not many workshops making wooden limbs for third world countries on the island, in fact, as far as I am aware, this is the only one in the entire UK, ditto for any recycling aluminium plant on the island. Any training he gets is completely redundant before he even embarks on it, since he'll never be given the opportunity to ever use it.
When he turns 18, all his present social clubs will bar him from membership, as it falls under "child services", and as he will soon be classified an adult, they will no longer be open to him. Scrambling as I am to find any alternative outlets, none appear to exist (I'm still digging, I know there has to be something out there).
I'll pass on listing the rest of my gripes, for fear of losing what's left of my readership.. just take it suffice to say, I am not a very happy bunny at the moment.
Okay, enough of this lousy excuse for a post, I have bucket of wine in the fridge a-calling me. Back soon, but with FAR more cheer, this I promise!