A while ago I think I mentioned how I was hoping to transfer Jude’s Jubilee House hours into Direct Payments so we could hire a Support Worker for him once a fortnight. Well, as you can predict, it wasn’t as simple as I hoped but I think we’re finally getting there.
Basically, Direct Payments are a type of payment that can help you maintain control of your child’s support and provision. They can be allocated to you following an assessment from your local councils’ social care department. If you have a necessary care related service in mind then the council (if agreeing you need the help) will calculate the cost of providing this to you and will then break down the amount into monthly/weekly payments depending on what makes most sense.
If you don’t want the responsibility of dealing with the money yourself then you can ask the council to arrange the support on your behalf. But, seeing as I don’t trust the council in anyway whatsoever, I am taking no risk of this dragging on another year and have independently advertised for and quickly found a fantastic Support Worker for Jude. We’ve met up a few times and weirdly, we know a few of the same people (six degrees of separation and all that…)
Jude really enjoyed her company and I’m confident she’ll be able to cope with him and his funny quirks!
The charity Leonard Cheshire is a fantastic national organisation that works to help disabled people across Britain to live as they choose and reach their full potential. They support Herts County Council with their application of Direct Payments and in doing so provide free advice and support for families receiving this type of aide. To be honest, I had no idea why I was given paperwork from Leonard Cheshire because no-one at the council had explained anything to me. It was all sent in the post and only having read it twice did I actually know what was going on.
And do you know what? They have been fantastic. I called them a couple of times as I was utterly confused (as usual) and the lady I needed wasn’t there so I left a message and carried on about my day, assuming no-one would call me back. Anyway, a short while later, someone else called in her place and helped me fantastically!
To get an up to date DBS check (used to be called CRB – basically it’s a way of making sure the person you are employing isn’t a bit dodgy), our lovely Support Worker had to take in some paperwork to the Leonard Cheshire office. I felt awful that she had to do this for a job she hadn’t yet begun however, it all went well and less than a fortnight later I received TWO calls from Leonard Cheshire to say the DBS was back and all clear. Two calls because TWO genius people, clearly full of gumption and enthusiasm for their jobs called to tell me because they didn’t realise that someone else had already done so.
This week, I also have a lady from Leonard Cheshire coming out to meet me to help with all the financial paperwork but it sounds fairly straightforward and once that’s done, the payments should start coming through.
What I have found best about Leonard Cheshire’s ability to communicate is how easy they have made it. I have ONE phone number and ONE email address, both of which initiate a response that very same day.
To get through to my case worker at the council, I have to drag my way through a matrix like myriad of departments and questions “what is the child’s name you’re calling about? What is their date of birth? What is your name? Ok let me just try and find her for you.” Inevitably they can’t find her and I leave a message to call me back.
Honestly, I want to put this on a recording to save me the energy of saying it three billion times a year.
Anyway, fingers crossed the Direct Payments are all basically now sorted and we’ll start to see our Support Worker every fortnight for a few hours. We’ll miss Jubilee House but I just think this will suit us bit better.