Stop Devon County Council from moving T away from his family

Stop Devon County Council from moving T away from his family

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Rachael Jewess started this petition to devon county council (Chief Executive) and

T is an 18-year-old young man with a severe learning disability, autism and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. Due to extremely challenging and injurious behaviour, T was moved into the care of professionals at 15. Devon County Council, our local authority, were unable to place him locally so he ended up 150 miles away at a residential school.

Whilst there he was over-medicated without our consent, and physically restrained multiple times a day. The placement broke down and T was returned to Devon, severely underweight and in a very bad state. Because of the distance, we were unable to visit regularly and so were unaware of how bad things had gotten towards the end. The sight of T when he returned to Devon will continue to haunt us.

T was placed at a Respite Unit temporarily on his return. The temporary status was then extended until his 18th birthday to avoid further disruption to him. He was a previous user of the service so was familiar with the home and the staff, and with their care and support, he gradually returned to his old self and has been blossoming there ever since.

In January this year, Devon County Council began looking for an adult placement and one was initially found with a new service provider in Exeter. About 2 weeks before T turned 18 the offer was withdrawn due to a safeguarding issue with another user which meant a new placement needed to be found.

Because of what happened with his previous placement his father and I have stipulated all along that we do not want him moved more than half an hour away from his family in Tiverton. We need to be able to visit and check on him regularly for his safety and for our own peace of mind. T also benefits from regular contact and this is very important for all of us.

We understand and appreciate that T has very complex needs. He requires 2:1 care 24/7 although we have been told that there are plenty of care agencies who can provide that. The problem appears to be with accommodation, and the only placement we have been offered is in Torquay. This is a 50-minute drive on a good day with no traffic. In reality, it is more likely to be over an hour each way, and more in the summer months with tourism traffic. This means a 2 hour round trip to see him, which makes regular visits extremely difficult.

To add to this, I (his mother) have M.E. and chronic pain. I get exhausted just visiting T where he is now, and that is 5 minutes away! Driving that far would be extremely taxing on me, assuming I'm well enough to do it. I have been offered taxi's, however, the pain of travelling by car for that long would not take a taxi any easier for me. This puts extreme limitations on my ability to spend time with my own son. Devon County Council has offered other solutions, however, none are suitable or acceptable for our situation.

On Thursday last week (13/10/21), a Best Interests meeting was held where we were able to voice our objections again. Because they were unable to get us to agree, within 24 hours we were notified that T's current placement was being withdrawn and he has to leave by 22nd November 2021. This is a very underhanded tactic by Devon County Council to force the move to Torquay against our wishes by making it the only option to prevent him from being homeless. 

Despite him being made homeless, Mid Devon District Council are using a legal loophole to refuse to accommodate him because he lacks the mental capacity to declare himself homeless. This seems to be extremely discriminatory so is being challenged. In the meantime, I am trying to find legal representation to challenge and block the move to Torquay. I am hoping to use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act - the right to regular contact.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!
At 75,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!