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| Families and Friends calls for funding changes


Families & Friends of Camphill, supported by the Camphill Village Trust, has called on the government for a national scheme for disability care needs assessment and support funding.

Families and Friends of Camphill, a charity representing the carers of more than 800 people with learning disabilities who are supported by Camphill communities in England and Wales, believes the present system of care needs assessments and funding by local authorities is unfair and a major restriction on individual freedom for people with disabilities.

In a recent submission to the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support, Families & Friends  proposes the introduction of portable care needs assessment and portable funding.

Their call has been backed by the Camphill Village Trust with a video submission to the Commission raising concerns about the way in which Government financial support for people with disabilities is routed through local authorities.

In the video, filmed at Grange Village community, Gloucestershire, Philip Gibson, a social worker and personalisation manager with the Camphill Social Work Advisory Team, says: “A national assessment system is needed so that people have the freedom to move with the security of knowing their needs will be met wherever they live.”

Mary PearsonHe is backed by people like Mary Pearson, a Families & Friends of Camphill trustee, whose daughter lives and works at Grange Village. “Personalisation should give people much more freedom about how they want to live and where they want to live,” she says, “but you can’t have real freedom unless you have freedom of movement.  How cruel is it that someone might want to move 15 miles but might not be able to just because it’s over a local authority boundary?”

The Camphill Social Work Advisory Team points out that while local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the eligible needs of people with disabilities are met, someone moving to a different local authority area may be faced with different levels of funding and even a different support needs assessment. Support funded by one local authority may not be funded to the same level by another. The result is that many people with learning disabilities find it difficult to move from one county to another in order to take up new opportunities or change their living or working situation.

“Particularly unfair are the differing assessments of support needs by different authorities and the differing levels of financial support for those assessed needs,” says Gibson. “People with learning disabilities, their parents, carers and support charities like ours have to spend immeasurable amounts of time and money trying to get a fair deal for people who want to move from one local authority area to another.

“Postcode lottery is a phrase that is used in other areas, and that’s exactly how it is when someone with learning disabilities wants to move. In the current system, a person with disabilities may be eligible for social care funding in one local authority area, yet deemed ineligible in another even though their needs may not have changed.

Pearson adds, “The government needs to take a new, long, hard look at the funding system and make it a central funding system where the money follows the person. It shouldn’t matter what authority area they have lived in, want to live in or may want to live in the future.”

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