We love our son but we need respite too

THE case of Riven Vincent, the mother of Celyn, a six-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, is heartbreaking.

The child with a lovely cloud of red curls needs round-the-clock care – and her mother just couldn’t cope with only the six hours of respite care she was given by her local authority. She asked social services to take Celyn into care. I say heartbreaking, because for a mother to be driven to make a decision to hand over a child she has cared for so lovingly must be awful. It is rooted in exhaustion and utter despair. The incident has one good outcome – it has highlighted the appalling national lack of respite care for parents of children with very special needs.

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