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No plans to close The Maples

News / Mon 10th Mar 2014 am31 10:44am

FOLLOWING a six-week consultation on proposals to develop and improve the provision of overnight short breaks for disabled children and young people in Essex, Essex County Council has concluded that The Maples in Harlow will remain open unless and until new good quality overnight short breaks provision that meets the needs of children currently using these services are in place.

The consultation proposals looked at how the overnight short break service could be developed and improved by making the range of options to families greater and more local. Over 450 consultation responses were received, alongside two online petitions.

The main concern for parents was that The Maples should remain open and there are no proposals currently being considered that involve closing the two homes.

Essex County Council will however take into careful consideration all of the consultation responses as it embarks on a programme of work to develop more local overnight short break provision including:

A focus on recruiting specialist foster carers for disabled children

Encouraging providers of small residential units into the County (especially in areas where there is no local current provision)
Ensuring there is wrap around support including out of hours for all families who use overnight short breaks in any setting

Considering how improvements can be made to current residential provision

It is anticipated that this programme of work will take at least 12 months before significant amounts of new provision become available.

Essex County Councillor Dick Madden, Cabinet Member for Families and Children, said: “I’ve stated right from the outset that families who currently receive support will continue to do so. What we want to provide is a menu of options for families to choose from, options that are right for them and their child. I’m very aware of the value parents and their children put on overnight short break provision and want to reassure them that there are no current plans to close either The Maples or Lavender House unless and until new good quality overnight short breaks provision that meets the needs of children currently using these services is in place.”

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