We are very disappointed that the 27% (£80,000) cut to the overnight respite budget for disabled children went through. Councillor Richard Cook who has the portfolio for children’s services was unable to explain why this strand of the respite budget had been underspent in previous years. We, however, were perfectly able to explain it. Parents have been actively dissuaded from seeking it by their social workers! We conducted a survey and of the more than one hundred who responded who had sought this provision, 59% had been told there was no money for it!
|What professionals have told carers about overnight respite||% Carers|
|There is a lack of funds for overnight respite in Cardiff||59%|
|There is a long waiting list for overnight respite||53%|
|There aren’t enough respite places/beds available||35%|
|Your child is too young for overnight respite||29%|
|There aren’t enough carers to accommodate children for overnight respite||21%|
|Only children with physical disabilities can have overnight respite||21%|
|Overnight respite is only available through foster carers||18%|
|Overnight respite is not available in the child’s own home||18%|
|No overnight respite is funded for disabled children through Cardiff County Council||15%|
|Overnight respite is only granted in emergency situations||9%|
|Overnight respite is only available in group settings e.g. Ty Storrey||9%|
|Your child is too old for overnight respite||6%|
|Children who need 2:1 supervision cannot have overnight respite||6%|
Families desperately needing this provision have found themselves on long waiting lists for places in respite centres – the very few of which we have in Cardiff are not run efficiently or to full capacity. One family who has contacted the CWTCh Network has been waiting almost two years so far. Another family, unable to find suitable provision for their son in Cardiff or nearby was travelling to Birmingham to get the respite they so desperately needed.
When Richard Cook addressed council yesterday saying that overnight provision was not in the care plans of children drawn up by professional social workers he omitted to mention that these very same “professionals” are the ones currently suspended or dismissed from the Child Health and Disability department which was, “in a dangerous state” when they had the reins.
This “listening” Labour council has not listened to carers of disabled children. In fact, Councillor Cook refused to organise a meeting to hear our voices before the budget (despite saying he would do so at the 31st January Council meeting) . Let’s be sure they are heard on the 4th March. This Council has taken money from the Touch Trust, overnight respite and agencies who help parents and carers, like us, access services we need- services that help keep parents in work, families together and children out of institutions.
Knowing what these families – our families – are going through and the traumatic decisions and compromises they are forced to make it made me sick to my stomach every time a Labour councillor bemoaned their sleepless nights over this budget. Caring for our children, our families and our homes gives parents of disabled children sleepless nights – not our consciences pricking us.
Oh, and for those of you who think the CWTCh Network is going away (or wish we would) – think again.
Thank you so much to the GMB members who helped us get in front of the cameras and on the loud hailer yesterday.