Elizabeth Eyre is, factually, an elected councillor, of Worcestershire County Council. Elizabeth Eyre is Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families.
She first drifted into my social networking eye-line in a post by Mark Neary on his blog "Love, Belief and Balls" about a fine example of"carespeak" to add to his collection. Amused by the nonsense, I posted a link, as a Comment, on Andrew Sutton's blog, who has an eye for these things, too
Explaining Worecesterhsire Councty Council's proposal to charge the families of looked after children, Elizabeth Eyre allegedly had this to say, characterising the parental charge as parents being "fully involved" and a "partnership approach":
“We believe that a child’s parents should be as fully involved as possible in all aspects of the care and wellbeing of their child and this policy is about supporting that partnership approach”.
And then I promptly thought no more of this nonsense, as being little more than midsummer madness. Until this morning, on reading in The Independent:
Tory-controlled council considers radical plans to make parents pay for children in care
Worcestershire County Council's controversial plan branded 'outrageous'
According to the article, Elizabeth Eyre had more to say:
The councillor with responsibility for children and families, Elizabeth Eyre, told The Independent that “finance was not the issue and nothing has yet been decided.” Ms Eyre said the council were simply examining “options that could be put in social services’ toolkit.”
She said the council currently had “no mechanism” that could allow it to accept payments for families or extended who wanted to contribute to care costs.
The Independent explains that Worcestershire County Council, who are looking to make cuts in their budget of £90m over a four year period, have launched a consultation (another one of those words) on child care support stating that their future policy could mean “parents asked to contribute towards the cost of certain services provided for their child, provided they have the means to do so.”
Not just parents having to pay, says The Independent report, but their children as well, when they reach 16:
"Among the more radical proposals in the Worcestershire consultation, which will last till October, is the notion that outstanding charges could be shifted on to the child as they pass the age of 16. If they are deemed capable of paying, they would be expected to contribute".
Perhaps all this is a bit more than "carespeak"; more concerning, perhaps, than mere midsummer madness? And why should parents of disabled children be concerned? Because the luminaries of Worcestershire County Council would charge them, too, if, for some reason, their child should be taken into care.
Social care, according to the council, becomes necessary when a family is in crisis, their child has special needs, or there are concerns about child safety or well-being ...
If, like me, you are disturbinbgly reminded of the mad Cornish Councillor, Collin Brewer, who had an altogether simpler solution to the cost of the disabled, and you are tempted to think that such people are rare odd-balls, then you will not enjoy what some of our fellow citizens contribute by way of "Comment" beneath The Independent article. Some of the comments make the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families of Worcestershire County Council quite liberal really.