Fam­i­lies in need hit by bud­get cuts

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANA GLOGER

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.”

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