Prime Minister David Cameron today vowed to help the mother of a disabled child who claims his broken election promise may force her daughter into care.
Exhausted mother Riven Vincent says she is at ”breaking point” as she struggles to care for her six-year-old daughter Celyn Williams, who suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and life-threatening epilepsy.
The mother-of-four, who suffers from multiple scoliosis herself, gets just six hours of respite per week and feels let down by the coalition government’s cuts.
Mr Cameron visited her in the run-up to the election and vowed to get more help for parents struggling to cope with the pressure of bringing up disabled children.
Her case hit the headlines after she criticised the government’s ”pathetic” cuts on the Mumsnet website.
Yesterday Mr Cameron vowed to keep a close eye on the situation.
He said: ”I want to meet the family again to see if there is more that they can do to try and help Riven care for her daughter at home rather than her daughter go into care.
”I know how hard she has worked to look after her darling child and I am going to look into this case very closely and have already started to do that.
”My understanding is South Gloucestershire Council have been in touch with the family.”
Mr Cameron added he didn’t believe there was a relationship between the cuts that are taking place nationally in some public services and Celyn’s individual case.
South Gloucestershire Council, which provides Celyn’s support, defended the service it provides to the family but also vowed to investigate the situation.
A spokesperson said: ”We have been supporting Mrs Vincent and her family since shortly after Celyn was born ensuring they receive the care they need from ourselves and the NHS.
”This package of care is reviewed regularly and has increased according to need over the last six years. There have been no reductions in the care provided to Celyn and her family.
”Needs were last reviewed in November 2010, however, Mrs Vincent contacted the Council yesterday to ask for further help. A meeting has been arranged to discuss her requirements.
”The family receives a wide range of services and direct funding from the council and the local NHS.
”These services include a full time specialist school placement; specialist equipment; individual support for Celyn and funding for additional help around the home; a home nursing service; respite service during the school holidays and overnight.
”South Gloucestershire Council understands the difficulties facing parents of disabled children, particularly those with complex needs such as Celyn’s.
”The council has worked with local parents of disabled children to increase the range of services to meet the local need, including short breaks which are an important aspect of support to keep children at home.
”We recognise that there are times when difficulties can appear overwhelming and we hope that we can resolve the present difficulties in the best interest of the family.”
Riven, 42, lives in Staple Hill, Bristol, with partner Mark Williams, 44, a research scientist at BAS Systems, Celyn, and her siblings aged 15, 17 and 18.
Yesterday it emerged that dozens of families living near severely disabled Celyn Williams have to rely on charitable services for valuable respite.
More than 90 families in the Bristol, who don’t receive enough help from local authorities, have additional support and care provided by the Jessie May Trust – an organisation financed entirely through volunteer fundraising.
The Jessie May Trust, which was set up in 1996, sends specially-trained staff to houses of families who have severely disabled children and youngsters with to provide palliative care and respite.
In addition, they also offer emotional support, have group meetings and provide bereavement support to the families of children who pass away.
This year the charity, which has five contracted members of staff and a bank of 25 nurses, had set a budget of £580,000.
But they find themselves in a precarious situation, having raised just £500,000 – relying on money raised from previous years to balance the books.
Chris Roys, chief executive of The Jessie May Trust, says not enough is being done in the public sector to help families with disabled children.
He said: ”The provision of respite care is really important for families with seriously disabled children.
”It’s so important that couples get to spend time together and to give attention to any other children they may have.
”These parents are saving the government so much money but if respite is cut and parents can’t cope there maybe the realisation that they can’t cope any more and will have to put the child into care.
”If children go into residential care it is at a huge cost to the taxpayer. It’s a huge burden of debt we owe these parents.
”They’re amazing. The amount of love and care they show their children in rather humbling.”