Mother will never have son home

A HEARTBROKEN mother today spoke of her devastation after losing a battle to care for her disabled son at home.Jennifer Dowd's son Darren Platts suffered severe brain damage from a drugs overdose eight years ago and now lives at a specialist care home in Norwich.

A HEARTBROKEN mother today spoke of her devastation after losing a battle to care for her disabled son at home.

Jennifer Dowd's son Darren Platts suffered severe brain damage from a drugs overdose eight years ago and now lives at a specialist care home in Norwich.

She had lived in hope of getting her 28-year-old son home for good, but her dreams were shattered at a meeting with social services last week.

Mrs Dowd, 50, of Adams Place, Kesgrave, said: "I wouldn't care if I died tomorrow - I have fought for eight years for this, but now I can never have him home.

"My two sons are devastated. I can't tell Darren that he is not coming home because it will break his heart."

A multi-agency team judged that Mr Platts required a specialist care setting to receive the best possible treatment.

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But Mrs Dowd, who lives with husband Christopher is adamant she is fit to care for him.

She said: "We have not even been given the chance for him to come home and see how things went with a 24-hour care package in place.

"They say Darren needs access to a nurse 24 hours a day, but I don't agree."

Mrs Dowd said a care package and funding had been agreed - but matters were complicated when a close family friend assaulted Mr Platts while he was staying at home over Christmas in 2003.

Jan Ryder was convicted of the attack, but it left the family under scrutiny.

At the time of the attack, social services held an investigation but she was not told about it until last week, Mrs Dowd said.

Mrs Dowd alleges that social services left her in the dark during discussions and allowed modifications to take place in the house despite their concerns.

She said: "They finally got the court case out of the way and we thought they were going to make plans.

"They had this investigation after the incident and they still allowed people to adapt my home, knowing all the time that he might not be coming at all.

"It is appalling. We are Darren's parents and no-one has discussed this with us."

Chris Lane, spokesman for social services, said: "Social care staff have had regular meetings with Mr and Mrs Dowd and have kept them fully informed of assessments being made about what is considered best for their son.

"It is strictly the case that a clear decision has been made to give Darren the safety and quality of care that he needs to have the best possible quality of life."

He added: "We hope that Darren will be able to visit his family at their home, and the previously installed equipment is likely to be useful then.

"It is also worth emphasising that money or the cost of care required has never been an issue."

Ryder, 45, who is currently homeless but formerly of Adams Place, Kesgrave, was due to be sentenced for assault at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court today .

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