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Surrey Liberal Democrats call for parents of disabled children to receive more support

December 10, 2012 2:49 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

ChildrenAt tomorrow's meeting of the Full Council of Surrey County Council Liberal Democrats will be calling on the Conservative-run County Council to enable more parents of disabled children to have short breaks to support them in their caring role.

Cllr Peter Lambell said: "At the moment it is very hard for parents of disabled children to even find out from the County Council what respite care is available to support them in their caring role. The County Council's 'Short Breaks Statement for parents and carers of disabled children and young people in Surrey' is difficult to find on the Council's website. Consequently many parents of disabled children do not know what respite care is available.

"The Council's Statement is far from clear about eligibility of parents for support. There is a lack of transparency about how decisions are made about who will be eligible for support and under what circumstances. Parents should be able to find out from the statement whether or not they are likely to be able to have respite care support.

"The geographical coverage within Surrey of residential respite care should as far as is reasonable be fair to minimise journey time for disabled children and parents. If journey times are too long this will add to the stress for families who are desperate for support and for a break.

"Finally I am calling on the Cabinet to provide respite care for more Surrey families of disabled children. In particular I am asking the Cabinet to review its policy that 'No child under 10 years of age should be accessing residential short break provision except in exceptional circumstances…'

"This policy is over-restrictive with an arbitrary age restriction that makes it very difficult for parents with children under the age of 10 to get the support that they desperately need.

"It makes sense for the County Council to provide respite care to support parents in their caring role for their disabled children. The alternative is that families break down under the strain and for the County Council to take on the full-time care at considerable cost for these disabled children. This is not in anybody's interests: the child's, the family's or Council taxpayer's. It is time for the Conservative administration on Surrey County Council to change their policies and provide fair and reasonable respite care support to parents of disabled children."