Parents have threatened the county council with legal action if controversial changes to what help disabled children are entitled to are voted through.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is cutting its £8.8m Integrated Disability Service budget by £1.7m from next April, meaning every family who benefits from help with carers, care respite and individual budgets will be re-assessed against stricter criteria, meaning hundreds of families will go without help packages like short breaks and access to key workers. Parents group Family Voice Warwickshire have slammed the recent public consultation and the proposals and said they would have no choice but to bring about a judicial review, claiming the council would not be fulfilling its statutory care obligations.
Debbie Hughes, a mother of two from Rokeby with an eight year old son with classic autism, ADHD, touretts and sensory processing disorder, said she has no doubt the changes will tear families apart.
“My family is terrified the help we get will be taken away. Ours, and many of my friend’s who also have disabled children, are already at breaking point as we grapple with the full-time care of our loved ones. The changes are simply too simplistic, too drastic and too poorly thought-out to work,” she said.
“There are parents out there who would consider putting their children into care rather than attempting to care for them themselves with less help. This situation is heart-breaking.”
WCC currently commission or provide directly 45,770 hours of regular short breaks support, the new model would deliver 26,440 hours of short breaks, a reduction of 19,370 hours. 65 families would no longer be entitled to family key working support and 120 families would no longer expected to be entitled to regular short breaks support.
Mrs Hughes added: “There are times, at least once a week, when I have to call my Key Worker for either emotional or practical help - thinking about what life would be like without that help is unthinkable - yet that is what hundreds of families in Warwickshire are now facing.”
A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said: “Officers prepared a statement for the consideration of Cabinet. We cannot prejudice the meeting by commenting before members have had a chance to consider and debate the report.
“Equality impact assessments were carried out as part of the process when the proposals contained in the report were considered and full legal due diligence was followed.”