We passed the 100 day mark this week. 100 days. 100 days of incarceration (though not according to some involved in this story who insist the locked door isn’t stopping LB leaving the unit). Let’s park that detail for now. And the emotions associated with this experience.
Leaving sounds are being made. Most vocally by LB. The slow wheels of social care are groaning into a ‘lets talk about potential provision at some vague meeting at some unspecified point in the near-ish future’ position’. I suspect (sadly) this may be quite something in social care activity terms in the case of young dudes like LB.
Incarceration came about because there was no care or support available. This (incarceration) has given us – er, I’m making some unsubstantiated assumptions here that Goffman would possibly be proud of – a slightly better position in terms of access to support. I’m less than optimistic about what that support might look like, given anecdotal and other information, but the bar is set so low from where we are, support of any shape that actually supports, is progress.
Reading between the lines (because nothing is transparent here) unnamed people (in health/social care/education?) are aware that LB is ready and in need of support to enable him to be released from the (I’m assuming) costly provision he’s been an inmate of for the last 100 or so days. Not that he’s locked up or anything.
Now there’s the rub. For the first time, we’re insisting on effective and appropriate support. This position makes me feel slightly heady, slightly hysterical, hugely enraged but mainly sad.
But hey. What about LB? How’s he doing?
Three things jump out this week.
1. He attended the ‘feelings’ group which was progress after the first meeting when he turned up, gave everyone the finger and left.
2. He’s asked me repeatedly this week if he’s mainstream now.
3. When I ring and they pass the phone to him, he has a nifty exchange with me – ‘Yeah, right’ ‘Yeah, cool, see you then.’ ‘Right, yes, cool, yeah’.
I’d take these three things as a sign that there is some shaking down in his mind of who he is, and what he wants.
C’mon social care (if you hold the power here). Let’s act on that and create him a space in which to live productively. And, while I’m at it, can I chuck back into the mix the feelings of siblings who are offered no support, and, if under 16, not allowed to visit their brother or sister on site?
It shouldn’t be like this.