Ipswich: Mum’s despair as county council refuses respite care for her severely disabled son

IPSWICH: A struggling mum today hit out at the “bureaucratic and unsympathetic” approach to offering respite care after she was refused help with caring for her severely disabled son.

Although Fraser Wells is eight years old, his disabilities mean he has a mental age of a toddler.

But when his mother, Sally Kitt, turned to Suffolk County Council for much-needed short-term assistance, her request was denied.

Ms Kitt, from Ipswich, now says she has no choice but to soldier on “until crisis point”.

Council bosses say families with children who have additional needs are offered help including direct payments.

Ms Kitt’s comments come after Britsol mum Riven Vincent made national headlines after accusing Prime Minister David Cameron of not doing enough to help families in their situation.

Bridge School student Fraser, who loves nothing more than kicking a football about or throwing stones in the sea at Felixstowe, is autistic, but two years ago he began to suffer from epilepsy.

Most Read

She said: “Fraser is lovely, but it can be hard. Fraser needs one-to-one care, he has no speech and he is still in nappies.

“With him having up to three fits a day on average, he has to wear a helmet to protect his head. He is currently being assessed by doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to see whether to do brain surgery or not.”

Fraser spends time living and being cared for by both his mum and dad, who are separated.

The family went to look at Shakers Lane respite centre in Bury St Edmunds in the hope they would be able to use it as a place for extra assistance so she could have a rest from time to time.

But she claims the council knocked back her plea and told her to appeal the decision.

She said: “To have to ask for help in itself is awful. But when you do, the process is long-winded, bureaucratic and unsympathetic to the very real problems that having a disabled child bring. At first, they asked for more information from me, which I supplied, but now it just seems that we have been refused point blank. I don’t know where we will go from here. Without help, I guess we will just have to keep going until crisis point.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We recognise a young person with additional needs hugely increases pressure on family life. In response to this, in partnership with our colleagues in health, we provide a number of services to families to support them. These include direct payments, one-to-one support and short breaks.

“Decisions relating to requests for short breaks in specialist residential centres are made by a panel of social care and health professionals who take into consideration all of a family’s circumstances, including support currently being provided.”

n Are you struggling to care for your children? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk