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Cuts to child funding will be "devastating", says Burnham mother
A BURNHAM mother has launched a petition to fight “devastating and short-sighted” cuts to funding for vulnerable children.
It follows a raft of proposed cost-cutting measures in Somerset County Council’s budget, which will be decided on February 20.
They include: getting rid of at least nine teacher and family support posts from children’s centres, ending funding for home visits to pre-school children with severe educational needs and disabilities, and trimming the educational psychology service.
Helen Groves, of Love Lane, a mother of three including a son with special educational needs, collected 80 paper signatures within three days of launching her petition over the weekend.
More than 125 people have signed an online version.
Helen, who is also a town and district councillor, told the Weekly News she feared parents of children with special educational needs may be denied access to the support she received.
She said: “The proposals are clearly attacking those who are most vulnerable and in desperate need.
“The devastating cuts to the provision of services such as family support and educational psychology are ill considered and short-sighted.
“Children with physical, learning and behavioural difficulties have the best long-term outcomes through early diagnosis and intervention.
“Unassisted it is recognised that educational and social outcomes are generally poor and many children go on to develop far more complex behavioural issues which ultimately may require multi agency support - at far greater cost.
“The reduction of service will mean that this already over strained service will struggle to meet demand, that families who are going through the lengthy and often traumatic experience of diagnosis will be left without support and isolated.
“In life we face many challenges, but in my personal experience there is nothing in life so disempowering as the inability to help your child.”
County councillor Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We do understand the concerns people have.
“Things will not be the same but we are in a time of extreme difficulty financially and we have to make extremely difficult choices.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that the most vulnerable are protected as much as possible.”