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Drunk Parent


KarenM
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What is your settings policy on allowing parents to collect their children when they have been drinking? I don't mean just a glass of wine with dinner, but several pints. I always thought it was to contact other emergency contacts and if no-one available, then the duty social worker (who are already involved).

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KarenM,

thats what we do - in practice it can be v.hard and can aggravate the situation. Maybe consider ensuring that there are adequate ways of staying safe too?

 

Good luck,

Spiral

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I'd be tempted to go to your EYAT and ask them.

 

Maybe rush through a policy which can be adhered to which could read;

 

'if a parent or carer arrives to collect a child and it is deemed that they are intoxicated with either drugs or alcohol, the decision will be made by the manager to telephone the emergency contact number and make arrangements for the child to be collected by them. If the parent/carer becomes abusive or makes a nuicance of themselves, the police will be called as will social services. At all costs, the staff will feel a duty to keep themselves and the child safe - no hesitation will be made when calling the police.'

 

 

gosh, hope that reads ok, just typed it fast. Anyway, you know what I mean, firm it up where you need to/change it and feel comfortable with the statements.

 

Best of luck,

Spiral.

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I would agree with getting advice from your EYAT. I've never come across this and I hope I never do.

 

The welfare of the child over rides anything even the rights of those with parental responsibility. Just been on a safeguarding children course at the weekend and been told this.

 

Good luck!

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Im not sure if your asking this as a hyperthetical question or advice on a real situation (im imagining theres a specific parent you have in mind)

 

if you are anticipating the parent being drunk when they collect the child you can phone you local safeguarding/child protection team during the session speak to the duty officer and ask for advice they are there to offer support as well as take referrals.

 

if a parent does turn up drunk and you want to avoid agressive confrontation see if you can get the parent to sit and talk and offer them coffee and try to stall them while another member of staff phones emergency contacts for an alternative person to collect the child however it is an issue of child protection that you will probably also have to make a referral because if the parent is turning up drunk then they need help.

 

if the parent is driving then you might even need to contact the police (we are talking 999 not local station) its correct that the childs safety is more important than the parental rights but its very difficult to refuse to let a child go home with a parent without any legal authority figure there to back you up such as police or social worker, I would try to stall the parent and wait for the cavalry to arrive.

 

Dont expect a bunch of flowers thanking you for taking action but think how you would feel if something happened and you hadnt done anything.

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I see from your original post that social workers are already involved with the child/family.

We have a child in a similar position and we are part of a team working with the family, we attend case conferences every month or so and parents know that we may talk to the social worker at any time.

 

Unfortunately something arose recently that we were not happy with and phoned the social worker to put them in the picture and seek advice.

 

Sorry if this is garbled but I just think that when you are talking about a child who already has a social worker then what you would do if the parent arrived drunk might be a slightly different procedure to what you would do with another child.

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I see from your original post that social workers are already involved with the child/family.

We have a child in a similar position and we are part of a team working with the family, we attend case conferences every month or so and parents know that we may talk to the social worker at any time.

 

Unfortunately something arose recently that we were not happy with and phoned the social worker to put them in the picture and seek advice.

 

Sorry if this is garbled but I just think that when you are talking about a child who already has a social worker then what you would do if the parent arrived drunk might be a slightly different procedure to what you would do with another child.

 

Interesting point Geraldine, I can see where you are coming from there. It all depends on the actual situation. I had a colleague who told me of her own terrifying ordeal with a drunken parent who became abusive-on the other hand, I also knew a parent who frequently nipped to the pup before picking up and was just merry, yet seemed ok to be in charge of their child. It's all about being prepared in the eventuality. Can be scary though!

Spiral

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I think you need to put out a message to say something to the effect that 'children will not be handed into the care of any adult who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the event that an adult in this condition attempts to collect a child, the committee/manager reserves the right, IN THE INTEREST OF CHILD SAFETY, to call the second named person on the admission form, to collect, and be responsible for the child until a parent can take over safely. Staff will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse and reserve the right to call the Police in the event of this occurring'

 

I'm fairly sure the PSLA has a policy to cover this.............but could be wrong............I have so many policies jumping round my head!!

 

I once had to call the police to a parent who arrived to collect her child.........................absolutely smashed and she wouldn't leave the child for us to call a grandparent, and she took off, in her car, hit the wall at the end of our car park then drove off again..all the time with her child in the back seat, unbelted andjumping around like a mad thing. I 999'd it and the police were waiting at her house when she arrived home, thankfully, safely. She was fined, and had her licence removed.............and sadly died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 34. I would not hesitate to call the police again in similar circumstances, and wish I'd been able to prevent her taking the child at the time.If anything had happened to him, I would never, ever have forgiven myself. Oddly enough, her mum gave me a real tongue-lashing, because I didn't telehone HER instead of the police! I just told her what had happened and why I did it, and said I'd do it again if i had to...........and surely she realised I was concerned not only for her daughter and grandchild, but the general public as well??

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I think you need to put out a message to say something to the effect that 'children will not be handed into the care of any adult who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the event that an adult in this condition attempts to collect a child, the committee/manager reserves the right, IN THE INTEREST OF CHILD SAFETY, to call the second named person on the admission form, to collect, and be responsible for the child until a parent can take over safely. Staff will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse and reserve the right to call the Police in the event of this occurring'

 

I'm fairly sure the PSLA has a policy to cover this.............but could be wrong............I have so many policies jumping round my head!!

 

I once had to call the police to a parent who arrived to collect her child.........................absolutely smashed and she wouldn't leave the child for us to call a grandparent, and she took off, in her car, hit the wall at the end of our car park then drove off again..all the time with her child in the back seat, unbelted andjumping around like a mad thing. I 999'd it and the police were waiting at her house when she arrived home, thankfully, safely. She was fined, and had her licence removed.............and sadly died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 34. I would not hesitate to call the police again in similar circumstances, and wish I'd been able to prevent her taking the child at the time.If anything had happened to him, I would never, ever have forgiven myself. Oddly enough, her mum gave me a real tongue-lashing, because I didn't telehone HER instead of the police! I just told her what had happened and why I did it, and said I'd do it again if i had to...........and surely she realised I was concerned not only for her daughter and grandchild, but the general public as well??

Exactly, Narnia, I totally agree, phone the police if a vehicle is involved, if the parent is in any way unfit. The person who we allowed to pick up their child was still very in charge (they had a half in the pub, nothing more and I knew them very well).

 

Also, just to clarify, I certainly would call the police first for backup and safety, then the safeguarding unit directly after as it is not unusual for them to require the police to be there for thier own safety when they arrive and the police would call them too, however, call them yourself to be sure they are all on their way!

 

Gosh, hope this never happens again, it's just awful,

Spiral

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Interesting point Geraldine, I can see where you are coming from there. Spiral

 

I don't think I explained myself very well :o

I think what I was trying to say is that there may be strategies/policies in place in how to deal with a drunken parent but for this particular child there may be 'additional' or 'other' elements for consideration perhaps dependant upon the relationship between setting and social worker and any understandings/arrangements they may have agreed for this child.

 

Not sure this is much clearer!!

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Thank you all for your help. Indeed there is a specific parent who so desperately needs help, but doesn't want to accept it and because she always jokes about things other staff think everything is fine. However she does like a drink, or several, and is often seen at the local pub with the children. I just wanted to check my understanding of the procedure as I was off ill when this happened and the child was handed over as if nothing was wrong. When I've come back and discovered the manager did this I questioned it and got told I could be accused of kidnapping and the child is the parents responsibility when they are handed over. Thankfully they don't drive, but you never know a persons tolerance for alcohol and how they react. I personally would not want to risk it, and as she has called s.s a couple of times when she has been drinking and can't handle the children, I think as a setting we should be more vigilant.

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Thank you all for your help. Indeed there is a specific parent who so desperately needs help, but doesn't want to accept it and because she always jokes about things other staff think everything is fine. However she does like a drink, or several, and is often seen at the local pub with the children. I just wanted to check my understanding of the procedure as I was off ill when this happened and the child was handed over as if nothing was wrong. When I've come back and discovered the manager did this I questioned it and got told I could be accused of kidnapping and the child is the parents responsibility when they are handed over. Thankfully they don't drive, but you never know a persons tolerance for alcohol and how they react. I personally would not want to risk it, and as she has called s.s a couple of times when she has been drinking and can't handle the children, I think as a setting we should be more vigilant.

 

Good luck with it Karen, I think you are abolutely right - and I also believe that in management, it is often the case that you end up going out on a limb to ensure safety when other's may not be so concerned - that is after all why you are where you are!

spiral :o

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