Yorkshire Grandma to the Rescue Again!

Yorkshire Grandma has known Joshua all of his life and he adores her, which means that when she is in charge after school, I know that he is in safe hands. She was meeting Joshua from school yesterday, while I am away overnight combining work with two more hospital visits to Mum. Sadly nothing is straightforward at the moment, and he came home with news that he had suffered a tummy upset at school. He proceeded to be loose several more times at home, so she and then his Dad later, were left to clean him up and settle him again. As my husband is also away on business today, Yorkshire Grandma was already coming to our house at 5 am to get Joshua ready for school, to allow him to get away on time. It became clear last night that Joshua would not be going to school today , but thankfully, she is able to hold the fort today until I get back home. He had been due to make another visit to his adult respite provision after school, so I have had to cancel that too and I will not now be able to host the parent coffee morning tomorrow either, as Joshua will need to stay at home to recover and stay in isolation. None of my plans will come to fruition and I am so grateful for Yorkshire Grandma’s flexibility too.

We pay Yorkshire Grandma an hourly rate by Direct Payments, a source of funding that comes every month from social care. I have to submit a timesheet for her hours every month and a Payroll company advise me how much to pay her and HMRC and that system has worked well for many years now. Last month, as she covered two overnight stays for me when Mum first went into hospital and she had him for full days in the Easter holidays, her hours amounted to over £1000. So I went to my Direct Payments bank account to transfer the cash into her account, as I do every month, only to find out that there was not enough in there to cover it. Upon investigation I found that the payment was last made by the council in February, so I immediately know that this failing was another casualty of his turning 18!

So I emailed my social worker and later rang her as I had received no response and while waiting, I spoke to the Payments department of the council to ask why no recent payments had been made. They confirmed what I feared, Children’s Services had cancelled the payments on 5 March when he became an adult. We had been told that his Direct Payments funding would continue unchanged as an Adult and that Health would be funding it as an adult, rather than Social Care. But that the paperwork had not been completed , and so the payments had simply stopped. I always kept a contingency amount for emergencies, so that had covered the hours in March, but now his account was empty and Yorkshire Grandma was owed £1000 for hours that she had worked in good faith.

Our social worker called me back and promised to chase the Health Social Worker for me, but warned that the money would not be instantly available, but that there would be a delay before it would be transferred. So this is yet another area of Transition where something that has worked perfectly for around 8 years, has crumbled because of Joshua’s 18th birthday. He has been  promised that his funding level will be maintained by Adult Services but that the paperwork has not been filed in time for a seamless transfer, even though everyone knew in advance when he would become an adult. Just because in the eyes of the law, Joshua has become an adult, does not mean that his needs, or the needs of our family, have changed. I am relying upon Yorkshire Grandma’s goodwill and flexibility today when she will cover another 12 hour day , at least, and yet we are not backed up by efficient systems or responsible professionals who have not done whatever they needed to do, in order to make this transition run smoothly. It is not fair that I simply stumble across this failing, nobody has been in touch to advise me that there was a problem so I foolishly ,and trustingly, assumed that everything was in hand. But you know what they say about people who assume…..

Pleased to Meet you

Joshua went out with a new Direct Payments key worker yesterday, for the first time and it was fascinating to see how he behaved. I have known her for a long time but Joshua was only young when we used to socialise in the same circles, when her now 16 year old daughter was pre-school and of course, her six year old did not exist.

He came to the front door when they knocked to see who had come to visit, she had brought her mother and son along and the plan was to walk up to our local open farm together. Joshua smiled at them then regarded them all with caution, trying to work out what was going on as Mum seemed to be telling all his secrets to this lady! Rather than willingly jumping into his wheelchair, as he does when Yorkshire Grandma takes him out, he was cautious and began sweeping up outside and had to be coaxed into the wheelchair. We kissed him goodbye and away he went, while I worked from home. We agreed to 5 hours together as their first outing.

Joshua arrived back at 3pm, as arranged, and as we talked outside, he took up sweeping the yard again, smiling shyly at the 16 year old daughter who had joined them. I heard how he had been and round their house, he had made himself very much at home – laid down on the settee and pulled a throw over himself and I have seen photographs, of him stroking the young girl’s long blonde hair!

I very much hope that they will want to have Joshua again, so that we have a back up plan for Yorkshire Grandma. But I realised how much knowledge she has of Joshua, knowing him all of his life. I forgot to warn them how much he likes mobile phones – apparently he ‘licked’ theirs and that he steals food from others’ plates – he ate Grandma’s scone with cream, amongst other snippets of knowledge.

As well as being pleased that we may be forming a new relationship with a whole family, not just Mum, I was pleased to see that Joshua was more wary of strangers than I had expected. I always thought that being so sociable, that he would go off with anybody. But his clear shyness – they even commented at the Farm how quiet he was yesterday as they see him a lot – was a relief to me really. He showed more social awareness than I expected. He was flashing his tummy at them when they brought him home, so he had gained more confidence, but he had then had 5 hours in their company and so, he could consider them friends at that point.

I hope that this relationship will go from strength to strength so that they can all get to know each other and spend more time together. Their first meeting was a success so, onward and upwards.