Families in need hit by budget cuts
CHAREDI FAMILIES with disabled children claim that social workers told them their care packages could be cut because a council had overspent.
This follows the JC’s “Forgotten Parents” campaign, which revealed that many large families were forced to cope alone with their severely disabled children.
MP Diane Abbott raised the issue with Jules Pipe, mayor of Hackney, one of the worst-hit areas of North London.
Mr Pipe refused to comment at the time, but this week Orthodox families said that the situation had worsened following visits from social workers.
Chaya Spitz, head of services at Interlink, an umbrella organisation for voluntary groups in the strictly Orthodox community, said: “People will have a review with a social worker they haven’t seen for two years and the minute they come in the door they are saying, ‘We have to make cuts now because we have overspent’.
“People feel they have to beg and plead to maintain the care packages they have. It’s so depressing.”
A mother of eight living in Stamford Hill, Hackney, who has a 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy, said: “I was terrified I was going to lose the little [help] I have. I only get seven hours of care a week, which is not enough as it is.
“Now people are terrified every time a social worker comes round in case they lose the little care they have. I begged for more help. I am desperate. But they just have their budgets in mind. I survive, but it’s a struggle and I don’t have the strength to fight any more.”
A council spokesman would not comment on the overspend claims, but said: “The council takes this issue very seriously and invested £2.7 million in the 2006/07 financial year in care for disabled children. Like all local authorities, the service is provided on the basis of need and will continue to be.
“The council is committed to its support of disabled children and their families and welcomes Ms Abbott’s backing of our call for more Orthodox families to come forward as foster carers.”