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Ben Haslam and the Laming Report Changes

The link is to a story about an autistic child in Bedfordshire.

What is interesting about this story is the interrelationship between potentially care proceedings (although having seen the video they talk about S20 which is not a care order) and the activities of the Local Education Authority.

It has been argued that the care system is being made to act in the interests of the LEA as a result of the reorganisation of the care system to place Childrens Social Services in with Education as Childrens Services.

I don't know enough about this particular case to make any judgment. I am, however, concerned about the over use of care proceedings in relation to children with ADHD and whose condition lies in the Aspergers Spectrum.

Interestingly this also relates to the close of an LA special school. The agenda of so called "inclusion" is clearly causing exclusion for some children. Perhaps in this case we should be questioning the closure of the special school rather than trying to work out the merits of "The Shires" at £250K pa or the LA's proposal at £120K pa. Frankly, however, given the current costs of care (residential or foster) it strikes me as odd that the LA's costs are as low as they claim.

However, there is a great resistance to working with parents (and the extended family) in Childrens Specialised Services. This cannot be good for the children.


Linda Jack said…
I know a little about Beds Social Services having been Unison Branch Secretary and had to deal with a lot of their incompetence. I absolutely agree with you on this. I met someone whilst canvassing in Luton during the GE who told a terrible tale of the impact the closure of a respite home had had on them. Happy to talk to you about this if you like

chaslam said…
In Ben's case all agreed that continuity of care was vital and the only solution offered to the parents was for this special school + care home solution. Other special schools in and out of county was asked about but deemed unsuitable by the LEA. The 'package' approach meant taking Ben into care was the only solution being offered by the Local Authority. No able child would ever be treated in this way. It is pure discrimination. It also gives Ben nothing like the 24/7 52 week a year education that he is currently thriving on at the Shires.

Your comment on costs is interesting as the costs cited by the LEA were those given to the tribunal which was a single figure. However, on seeing the breakdown, we felt that the costs did not add up to the agreed care level (although an official up-to-date statement is still outstanding). However, to submit this as evidence to the High Court appeal would have meant making a counter appeal that would have cost tens of thousands of pounds.

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