FII is a potential allegation for many of our Not Fine in School Families.
When professionals insist that a child is Fine in School, but parents are reporting they are not fine in school, someone is either wrong, or not fully understanding the difficulties. Unfortunately this can lead to accusations of Fabricated or Induced Illness. Increasingly these accusations are coming from school. When referrals are made to social services, there is a very set procedure to follow, which includes not informing parents of their suspicions. Whilst this is being investigated the level of care the children receive should remain the same, but sadly this is not always the case.
This is why the message of Not Fine in School is so important. Many of our children need early interventions and reasonable adjustments to be able to access education. They may need diagnoses, treatment and recommendations from Health and/or SEND professionals.
Some conditions are complex, some are rare. Some have co-morbidities that make diagnosis difficult . Some may include fluctuating symptoms, some are not alway obvious at school due to masking, or due to symptoms not being noticed.
Reduced attendance at school is often seen as a safeguarding concern. However we find that in the case of many NFIS families, attendance is affected by inadequate health or SEND support. Doctors and social workers may not be aware of the lack of support within schools for children with SEND, nor for children with medical conditions.
Fii investigations need to include requiring schools to produce evidence that they have the support plans in place, and are following medical advice, attendance policies, policies for children with medical conditions, and even the SEND Code of Practice. If they are not followed, children’s health and wellbeing may be seriously affected. Without the necessary support and timely interventions, many children will struggle with the rigours of day to day school life, and therefore be less likely to attend. It is important that the plans made are based on specialist advice where possible, in conjunction with listening to parents and children.
Equally schools may not be aware of the impact of local policies, high thresholds and waiting times for diagnoses and treatment within the NHS. Often schools require medical evidence before they will authorise absences, especially for children with reduced attendance. While this is often necessary for long term medical conditions, the school may also be putting pressure on parents to seek diagnoses.
Families in this situation are also being expected to attend GP surgeries more often than a parent usually would, even though this is an inappropriate use of the GP service. This may also be documented by medical professionals as inappropriate behaviour by parents.
Unfortunately 18% of our Not Fine in School parents report being accused of Fii.
*WHAT IS FII (Fabricated or Induced Illness)?
“FII is an extremely rare form of Child Abuse. It occurs when a parent or carer, usually the child’s biological mother, exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child. FII is also known as Munchausen’s by Proxy.
FII covers a wide range of symptoms and behaviours involving parents and carers seeking healthcare for a child. Behaviours in FII include a mother or other carer who :
• The parent or carer has good medical knowledge or a medical background”
According the NHS reduced or inconsistent school attendance is also a factor when considering Fii. *By Fiightback.
If you are accused or suspect you are bing accused of Fabricating and Inducing illness, please contact Fiightback through facebook or their website as they can offer support and advice. You many need to seek legal advice too
When medical and educational professionals are unable to recognise that parents are likely to know their children best, that they are usually the first to notice when their is a change with their child, and are asking for help with difficulties when their child is struggling, they miss an opportunity to work together at the earliest opportunity. The suspicions can easily spread, and even could even be preventing children from receiving the help and support they need to be able to attend school.
Fiightback originated as a small secret group about seven years ago after a numbers of us were accused. We found each other and supported each other. We found other groups that supported us and we slowly grew in number.
After the Royal college of nursing published the fii masterclass slides a small number of accused and non accused mums saw the need to expand the group and start campaigning against the flood of accusations that were coming in and fiightback was born June 2017.
We try our best to support, guild, find expert lawyers, advocates, organise press, lobby, build networks, build evidence of what’s happening and come up with ideas to change the situation. We aren’t perfect but we try. We will try our best to be there for you. We won’t judge you.
We work with parents whose children are in need, at risk or are in the care system and with members of the wider family who are raising children unable to remain at home.