Monday, 19 November 2012

Visiting the Minister for Care in Westminster

Last week, MENCAP and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation invited me and other relatives whose children & siblings have been failed by support services to Westminster to tell Norman Lamb, Minister for Care Services, our stories. It was a great honour to be asked, and it felt good to be heard by someone with the power to change things. I felt a great sense of solidarity with the other relatives and their harrowing testimonies hardened my resolve to ensure the failings that had left Chrissy in so much torment are thoroughly investigated.

It's a relief to know that I’m not alone in feeling angry at the struggles we've faced to get Chrissy happy and settled again. I’m one of the lucky ones - Chrissy hasn't been abused by her carers and I’ve finally got my lovely daughter back. Other relatives told similar encouraging stories that show what can be achieved with the right support. Our battles have been hard-won. Learning disability services had given up on our loved ones and left us not knowing where to turn. As we spoke among ourselves, I learned that I wasn't alone in feeling guilty, as if I had been the one to let my child down.

Norman Lamb stayed beyond the time that had been agreed and said that hearing our stories was as shocking as watching the original Panorama programme about Winterbourne View. We must continue to speak out for the sake of those that have no one to speak out for them. I hope the meeting with Norman Lamb will make a difference, he'll do all he can to ensure lessons are learned, and that adults with learning disabilities are treated with as much dignity and respect as the rest of us.

I am a SWAN UK (Syndromes without a Name) blogger

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