Court dismisses parents’ challenge

The parents of two severely disabled boys who claimed they have
received inadequate support from their local council have lost
their High Court challenge.

Michael and Henrietta Spink were challenging Wandsworth social
services over the level of provision of aids and adaptations for
the boys in their home in London.

However, the judge ruled that the local authority was entitled to
consider the financial resources of the parents in deciding whether
it was necessary to make arrangements to meet the boys’ needs.

The couple’s sons, aged 12 and 16, both need 24-hour care. Their
current care package costs the council more than £60,000 a

The judge said a local authority would have to look very carefully
at the overall circumstances when parents had the financial
resources to meet their children’s needs but had expressed an
unwillingness to do so.

But he could see no reason why a local authority should not be
allowed, where appropriate, to conclude it was unnecessary to meet
those needs.

Afterwards the Spinks said they may have to sell their home in
order to continue looking after their sons.

They called it a “political judgement” that “reinforced the move
away from local authority support for disabled children and their

Wandsworth’s director of social services, Peter West, said it was
an important ruling for all local authorities.

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