Family of teen with disabilities denied extra support by Calderdale Council

Calderdale Council failed to produce a care plan for a girl with severe disabilities – potentially leaving her family without adequate support, the Local Government Ombudsman has found

Calderdale Council failed to produce a care plan for a girl with severe disabilities – potentially leaving her family without adequate support, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.
The teenager, who has severe physical and learning disabilities, requires constant supervision and is dependent on her parents.

But because the council failed to assess the girl’s needs, and those of her parents, properly, the lack of support has placed a considerable strain on the family and her parents’ health has suffered as a result.

In September 2012, the family complained to the LGO that, despite their daughter’s worsening condition the council refused their request to increase their direct payments to fund additional hours of care.

That request for extra help was turned down because Calderdale Council had never completed a core assessment and so could not produce a care plan identifying the girl’s needs on which to base a sound decision.

The family first contacted the authority in 2003, but the council’s file has no evidence of how it has calculated the level of support offered, or what it intended any support to be used for.

Since the family’s first contact with Calderdale Council, the authority has attempted three further core assessments – none of which have resulted in a formal care plan for the family.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:

“The council has failed to provide evidence that it knows what the child’s needs are, what the impact of her disability is on her family, how her needs are being met or at what cost.

“I find it incomprehensible that, given these circumstances, the council could say the direct payments that they offered were sufficient to meet the family’s needs.”

The council has now agreed to appoint an independent social worker to assess the child’s needs and those of her parents and produce a care plan that complies with statutory guidance.

It has also agreed to review its decision not to pay the child’s father to provide care for his daughter and also agreed to pay the family £5,000 in recognition of their distress and the time it has taken to bring the complaint.

The council will also make an additional payment to the family at a level to be agreed with the Ombudsman, if after an assessment the council identifies services that the family were entitled to, but have not received.

The council has also agreed to review its practices so that its assessment of disabled children fulfils its statutory duties and meet the requirements of government guidance.

Article date: 27 November 2013

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