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Mother still fighting to get autistic son home after Surrey County Council confined him | #students | #parents | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


A mother is continuing her fight to get her autistic son back home after he was confined by Surrey County Council’s social services despite having mental capacity, his mother claims.

Sam Derici has been in residential care under the council’s jurisdiction since 2017 after a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding order was issued that removed his freedom to make choices for himself.

Deprivation of Liberty is a legal process enacted when it is necessary to deprive someone of their freedoms because they lack the capacity to consent to care to keep them safe from harm. However Mr Derici’s mother, Linda Parish, claims he does have the capacity to make decisions for himself.

READ MORE: Surrey adults face ‘unacceptable’ wait of over a year for autism assessment

Mr Derici was placed in respite care at Walton’s Rodney House by social services four years ago, while his parents relocated back to Surrey after a few years away and sorted out housing.

In an audio recording heard by SurreyLive, a social worker admits it was not suitable for Sam’s needs, yet he stayed there for a further 10 months. He later returned home, but was removed again before being taken to Crockstead Farmhouse in Sussex, where he remains.

Mrs Parish is adamant the house is unsuitable for any guest, after the company that runs it was prosecuted and fined £40,000 by the Care Quality Commission last summer following the death of a patient at a sister site.

We spoke to another woman whose son was in Crockstead. She echoed Mrs Parish’s concerns following the treatment of her epileptic son.


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SCC sanctioned an independent assessment of Mr Derici in July 2018 which showed he was “not affected by clinically relevant mental illness”, but displayed “significant manifestations of autistic spectrum disorder”.

SCC ignored the view of the NHS psychiatrist, Mrs Parish claims. However, their own social services report one month later provided a staggering contradiction which aligned with the psychiatrist’s view.

It said the 32 year-old former Merrist Wood student was irreversibly incapacitated “because he has a diagnosis of learning disability and autism”.

Three years later, his mother Linda Parish is still desperately fighting for her son to be released so he can return home, and is also searching for answers.

Linda Parish's is fighting social services for her son to return home.
How Samuel looked before he was taken into care by SCC

She maintains that Sam formerly thrived and was a fully functioning member of society.

She fumed: “He now sits in his room all day doing nothing. All the money being spent on him is being wasted. He has qualifications in animal care, horticulture, pottery.

“Sam worked at Normandy garden centre, the Spectrum and had paper delivery rounds. The highlight of his day is when he takes another resident to college. Why can’t he do the same?”

“He can climb a 40 foot wall and knows how to use the harnesses and equipment. They are flouting the Mental Capacity Act and using the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards as a weapon of confinement to hide their failings.

“Surrey are making a mockery of the Mental Capacity Act. It is there to protect vulnerable adults, not to be violated and used as an instrument of confinement.

“Before a person can be deprived of their liberty, an assessment must be carried out by the care home. It is authorised by the supervisory body, which is the local authority. Therefore, Surrey County Council has rubber-stamped Sam’s deprivation.

Linda Parish's is fighting social services for her son to return home.
How Sam looks now under socials services’ jurisdiction

“Autism is not a mental capacity disorder, it is a social communication disorder. It should not be covered under the Mental Health Act.”

The mother of three is aghast that one of her son’s former social workers was passing judgement on her son’s mental capacity, while they themselves were suffering depression so severe they asked to be admitted for psychiatric help.

During a doctor’s assessment six months ago, Sam weighed in at 9st 5lbs which accounting for his height, gives him a BMI score classified as ‘underweight’.

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Despite this, the anonymous medical expert stated that Sam “enjoys good general health with no major concerns”.

His weight dropped below nine stone in April, prompting his mother to maintain he looks like someone out of “Belsen concentration camp”.

She continued: “Surrey said Sam has seen a doctor and in the report, apparently he is fit and healthy at 9 stone 4 ounces. But the doctor is not named so there is no accountability. Who is this GP?”

Mrs Parish was also accused by Surrey County Council of previously abusing her son’s finances.

She is no longer in control of them, and an independent review noted: “It would be reasonable to conclude that any allegation of financial abuse made against her during this time-frame was unfounded.”

The review was conducted in 2017, five years after the allegation was made.

Mrs Parish questions why she was not reported to the police at the time of Surrey’s initial concerns of fraud and why after she was exonerated, the county council did not begin an audit to figure out who was fiddling her son’s finances.

The council’s response

In 2019, Surrey County Council’s Peter Tempest said: “We must move away from residential care dependency.”

He added there are “people with autism spending their entire life in residential care”.

Surrey county councillor Sinead Mooney is in charge of Adult Social Care.

All of the evidence gained has been laid out to Miss Mooney but despite agreeing to a meeting and having more than two weeks to provide a written response, she failed to do so.

However, the council later issued a response.

A Surrey County Council spokesperson said: “In situations where people need a high level of supervision and support to live well and safely, a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DOLS) authorisation is often requested and put in place.

“These are a standard part of the Mental Capacity Act and widely used in adult social care with the purpose of protecting people and making sure their care and support needs are being met – such as having someone with them when not at home as they may be at risk if they’re unsupervised in the community.

“We set up these safeguards and review them in line with the law, and we’ve made sure that in situations like this the individual has an independent representative to provide us with regular updates about their wellbeing and how the safeguards are working.

“We also keep a close eye on people’s physical health and will work to ensure that necessary steps are taken by the care provider and GP to assess or treat any conditions or illnesses.

“We’ve been in regular dialogue with the family over the past years and will continue to do that.

“We’re committed as a council to reducing the number of people with learning disabilities or autism living in residential or nursing care in favour of living more independently with appropriate support or within a shared lives scheme – if our reviews indicate that would be in their best interests.

“While that initiative is not specifically focused on resettling people in Surrey, we may also look to do that, if such a move would be right for them. We wouldn’t stigmatise any staff member with mental health needs and would support them in taking steps to recover.

“We take a proactive approach to supporting employees’ wellbeing and offer a range of assistance from regular wellbeing events to bespoke interventions including counselling.”

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