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(UK) Teesside: Family denied respite care for 11 months; $2,300 compensation

Oct 3, 2022, Teesside Live: Family of autistic child receive £2,000 payment after council 11-month delay for respite care

N. England

A Teesside family has received a £2,000 [$2,300] pay-out from a council after an 11-month delay to provide respite care for an autistic child.

Having moved to the area in February 2019, the anonymous family say Redcar and Cleveland Council's actions caused "avoidable stress” and had a negative impact on the mum's health conditions and wellbeing. The unnamed youngster, known as Child Y, went without full-time education for over a year and it took the council 11 months to organise overnight respite care for them and their parents. Now, having already paid out an undisclosed amount for the loss of education, the local authority has agreed to pay a further £2,000 following a Local Council and Social Care Ombudsman investigation. Having initially offered a £1,000 compensation payment, the child's mum, Mrs X, who also has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and other medical conditions, declined the offer as she says she considered the amount to be an insult.

Following the investigation, the figure was doubled as it did "not adequately address the injustice caused to both" Child Y and their mum the ombudsman report outlines how the council initiated a Child in Need plan in March 2019.

By September a need for overnight respite care for the child was identified. Two months later Mrs X complained to the council for not providing her child with adequate SEN education and for failing to provide respite care.

It wasn't until January 2020 that the youngster attended their first respite care visit - and attended further visits in March and April. At this time the council still hadn't completed it's own investigation into the shortfall….

The ombudsman also found a delay in the stage-two investigation. Redcar and Cleveland Council agreed to further apologise, remind staff to adhere to timeframes in the children's statutory complaints process, and consider using notification/decision letters to parents to clarify provision agreed as part of Child in Need meetings.


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