£20,000 compensation for family of Aspergers Syndrome child failed by education and social services


"communitycare.co.uk", a website dedicated to all areas of the social care profession, reports that Croydon Council has agreed to pay £20, 000 compensation to the family of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, after the Local Government Ombudsman concluded that it had failed to meet the boy’s special educational needs, as well as the family’s needs as a whole.

In his report the ombudsman, Jerry White, particularly criticised the lack of joint working between education and social services, stating, "It seems to me that the education and social care professionals did not work together effectively, either with one another or health care officials..."

The family had approached social services for help in managing their son’s behaviour, which had become increasingly aggressive towards his younger sister and them. The family felt that their son’s needs would be best met at a residential college placement, a view shared by The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. However the education and social services were unable to agree funding between them. As a result of the services’ failure to engage in effective joint working, the boy ended up out of school, regularly getting in trouble with the police.

The situation this particular family found themselves in is by no means unique. Sadly, families across the country face similar plights.

At Simpson Millar we have a team of solicitors and other experts that specialises in education and community care law. We act for families, both in the courts and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SEND). Our Community Care solicitor, Emily Gent, has in fact dealt with a case similar to this family’s, also against Croydon, where, during an appeal to SEND a complaint about the lack of joint working between education and social care professionals was made. The authority agreed to fund a residential place for the child, at an independent special school, without the need to go to a full Tribunal hearing.

We can also assist parents with complaints to the LGO where matters have been resolved but nevertheless the authority’s failings are such that they ought to be investigated, corrected and injustices addressed.

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