Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham City Council 'did not give mum support'

Media captionBirmingham City Council apologised and said it was reviewing its practices

The mother of a teenage boy with special needs did not receive support despite asking a council for help, an ombudsman has ruled.

Sally Clarke's son, Charlie, has severe autism and can be violent.

Ms Clarke, from Birmingham, said it took 18 months to get help from the council instead of two, and she had no help at weekends and during school holidays.

Birmingham City Council apologised and said it was reviewing its procedures.

'Tough year'

The family first contacted the council in October 2012. After an assessment by a social worker, the council closed the case in February 2013 without telling the family, the Local Government Ombudsman said.

Ms Clarke wrote again in May that year to complain that she had heard nothing.

Charlie had become increasingly violent, and the family told the council they were "at crisis point", the report said.

By July last year, the school told the council that it could not meet the boy's needs, and said that his behaviour put staff and others at "considerable risk".

The council accepted Charlie may need full-time residential care after the involvement of the LGO in January, its report stated.

Ms Clarke said her son had now been assessed.

"His placement has been guaranteed until next year," she said. "It's one of my main concerns that he can keep that."

But she said it had been a "tough" year.

"I'm just about holding it together," she added.

A council spokesperson said: "We have apologised for the delay in carrying out the core needs assessment and we are currently reviewing our practices and procedures."

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