Council to review Bristol disabled child case

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The council which was asked to take a disabled child into care by her despairing mother is to review the family’s case following prime minster David Cameron’s promise to investigate the case.

On Wednesday Riven Vincent, whose six-year-old daughter Celyn is blind and has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, posted a message on Mumsnet complaining that South Gloucestershire Council had refused to provide extra respite support.

Her posting said: “Have asked social services to take dear daughter into care. We get six hours respite a week. They have refused a link family. They have refused extra respite. I can’t cope.”

In a statement released late yesterday, following national media coverage of the story, the council said: “We have been supporting Mrs Vincent and her family since shortly after Celyn was born ensuring they receive the care they need from ourselves and the local NHS.

“This package of care is reviewed regularly and has increased according to need over the last six years. There have been no reductions in the care provided to Celyn and her family.

“Needs were last reviewed in November 2010, however, Mrs Vincent contacted the council yesterday to ask for further help. A meeting has been arranged to discuss her requirements.”

Yesterday, via an official statement on Mumsnet, Vincent said: “The money the government has allocated for short breaks and respite care – £800m over four years is not enough, and worse still, it’s not going to be ring-fenced. So there’s nothing to stop cash-strapped local authorities from using the money elsewhere.

“We simply cannot cope and neither can families up and down the country, just like ours. I have no wish to put my daughter into a home. We want to look after her. All I am asking for is a little more support. We are crumbling.”

Her anguish has resulted in thousands of messages of support from Mumsnet users and an assurance from the prime minister – who privately visited the family during the election campaign – that he will look into the case closely.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson added: “The council has worked with local parents of disabled children to increase the range of services to meet the local need, including short breaks which are an important aspect of support to keep children at home. We recognise that there are times when difficulties can appear overwhelming and we hope that we can resolve the present difficulties in the best interest of the family.”

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