Community Care (www.communitycare.co.uk) reported this week that more Personal Budgets should be given to children…
‘Families with disabled children should be offered more personal budgets to ease the transition between children’s and adults services, a sector expert told delegates at the CIPFA conference on social care finance today.
“I strongly advise children’s services to look into some element of personal budgets because some experience of personal budgets before entering adults’ services would be positive for families and would build confidence in the system,” said Caroline Highwood, an independent social care consultant who recently retired as Kent’s director of resources in adults’ services.
However, Highwood warned practitioners they had to be very careful when discussing these options with families as any suspicion of cost-saving motives could create insurmountable barriers.
“It’s a conversation you have to be very careful with,” she told delegates. “Families cannot believe you’re offering a lower-cost service just because of local authority cuts. That will put up some major barriers. The family needs to see that this is in the best interest of the young person. Otherwise, you’re going to get placards outside the town hall.”
Highwood also said practitioners must be aware of the sudden change in attitude some families experience from services during a transition.
“From a family perspective, children’s disabilities services are what you might call a deficit model,” she said. “When families need to get services for their child, they have to argue, ‘This and this are what little Johnny can’t do’. In adults’ services, the best services are predicated on, ‘What can you do with support?’
“During the transition, after 18 years of saying ‘little Johnny can’t…’ there can be a bit of a gap,” she said.’
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As the social care industry starts to feel the real effects of the Government spending cuts, the Dilnot Commission this week revealed a potential plan for the future funding of social care. This is continuing to be a major issue due to the ageing population and ongoing reduction in Government spend within the industry.
The much anticipated Dilnot Review was published on Monday, suggesting a cap of £35,000 on the amount that any individual should contribute to their own elderly care. The Guardian (www.theguardian.co.uk) describes the finding in more detail.
“The commission set out a plan by which no one would have to pay more than 30% of their savings and assets towards meeting their needs. As well as the proposed cap, it suggested raising the limit on assets a person may hold while qualifying for state help from £23,250 to £100,000.”
Although the Government has described the findings as a good starting point, Andrew Lansley has announced there will be a further process of consultation before any decisions are made.
However, Community Care (www.communitycare.co.uk) reported that ASASS President, Peter Hay has warned that adult social care cuts will only get worse over the next three years and so the Dilnot Commission’s report needs to be actioned sooner rather than later. “We have heard the government’s timetable for consulting on the commission’s report, and the conditions any response need to meet. But we must also bear in mind that, while delay is understandable, uncertainty about the future will have inevitable and unfortunate consequences.”
This is some progress at least but it seems we will have to wait further to see the course of action.