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Closure of Ashworth House

Posted by Anne Handley, Sunday, September 23, 2001

Thinking back to the 'bad old days' when most 'handicapped' children were in residential care, you may think it was a good move to close the last remaining residential unit for children with special needs in Calderdale - well, there were only 4 children staying there and they seem to have been catered for, at least in the short term.

However, at the moment they are being housed in a unit specially built to provide essential respite for parents like me who spend all but a few days in the year looking after their children in their own home. This respite home is now left with only about half it's capacity to offer respite, because the beds and staff time are taken up by these residents. Do we resent it? Of course not, because we identify very closely with the plight of these parents/carers and children. There but for the grace of God... For instance, if I became ill and was hospitalised, there would be no suitable home in which social services could place my daughter with special needs (hopefully as a temporary measure). It is vital to the welfare of all children with special needs and vital to their families' ability to cope that Calderdale must provide BOTH a dedicated respite service (Linden Brook) AND a residential unit that can be used in necessity. So please read the news item - see HebWeb News - and pester Social Services, your MP, or anyone that will listen!