My right to enjoy a family life with people who know me well
Josie is a young adult with complex health needs, autism and severe learning disabilities and was in transition to adult services.
Josie has lived in a children’s home in Warrington for the past 12 years. This was Josie’s 5th placement after family breakdown. Josie is from another local authority and was placed out of area within Warrington.
Josie first became known to Speak Up following a referral from her care provider in Warrington. They had received notification from the newly allocated adult social worker from her home authority, that a placement for Josie had been found in her home area and she was to move there.
Josie’s provider was concerned that there had not been any discussion around this decision and that it contradicted previous plans made by Josie’s children’s social worker, which was for Josie to move to the adult provision with the current provider in Warrington. This would be a bespoke placement, where Josie would be living with young people who she had grown up with and now went to college with. In addition, the staff team who she also knew very well, would be moving with her to provide continuity of support.
Under our Preventative Advocacy contract the advocate raised a concern with Josie’s adult social worker that a capacity assessment, a transition plan, a best interest decision and a referral to independent advocacy had not been carried out. Following this a referral for a Care Act Advocate (Care and Support Planning) and an IMCA (Change of Accommodation) was received from the social worker to provide support for Josie during the transition from children’s services to adult provision.
The Care Act referral form stated that advocacy was required as Josie’s family were not able or willing to provide the required support for Josie. However, given family could still be consulted, the eligibility criteria for the IMCA service was not met and therefore advocacy support continued under the Care Act 2014 only.
How we helped
Josie has limited verbal communication and understanding around her care and support needs. The advocate used a non-instructed approach which included visiting Josie in different settings to observe her interacting with her peers and staff.
The advocate gained information about her care and support needs from key staff within the provision and used their expertise to develop a relationship with Josie.
The advocate looked at all relevant plans and records in her care file. It was evident that when Josie had first moved to Warrington she experienced significant episodes of challenging behaviour. However, it was now evident that Josie had settled very well and that the strategies implemented by the staff have had a positive outcome in reducing the challenges presented. Having the same staff team throughout her placement had also contributed to this success.
Advocacy support was provided for the capacity assessment to ensure that in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act the appropriate approach was used to enable Josie to participate as fully as possible.
The advocate also supported in a Deprivation of Liberty assessment, Education, Health and Care Plan review and Best Interest meeting.
In ensuring Josie’s rights were upheld, the advocate had to challenge Josie’s adult social worker on several occasions due to an apparent lack of understanding and awareness of procedure in relation to the Mental Capacity Act. There was ongoing conflict between professionals and the adult social worker regarding what was best for Josie. All other professionals, including the advocate, believed that Josie should remain in Warrington. As a result, the advocate appointed a solicitor on behalf of Josie to challenge the out of area local authority.
In accordance with the Care Act and Human Rights Act, the advocate made certain that Josie’s rights were upheld throughout and that the appropriate legal support was put in place. Before the matter reached the Court of Protection, Josie’s local authority reconsidered their position and agreed that it would be in Josie’s best interests to remain with her provider and transition to their adult provision.
The advocate remains involved with Josie as her Paid RPR for the DoLS Authorisation.
Josie’s transition went very well, she is settled and thriving in her new placement, living with and being supported by people who know, like, enjoy and understand her.