Plans to axe respite breaks for disabled children at a charity’s Lynn facility could end up costing taxpayers more than the service itself, parents have warned.
Norfolk County Council has confirmed it will not fund places at Morley House, which is run by Break, from the end of August.
The authority claims the move will help them to support as many children as possible with complex needs.
But critics say the decision has been taken without consultation and for reasons of finance rather than care need.
They plan to set up an online petition within the next few days and have called for public support to help reverse the decision.
One parent, who asked not to be named, said she was “distraught” at the measure.
She said: “For us Morley is a service we rely on heavily, it provides us all with the chance to sleep, rest, spend time with our other children and just give our bodies and minds a break from the total care we give our children 24 hours a day.
“Morley is a community we rely on, not just a support network of wonderful professionals who give our children an overnight break experience they would get nowhere else due to their high levels of need.”
Another added: “We need the community as a whole to stand up and say no to this resource being cut. It is short sighted to say the least.
“I have no doubt that removing this service will put more pressure on families and carers like us and then we will, in the long run, need more support from other services and possibly end up deemed a family in crisis as we struggle to cope with all the demands.
“This in turn will then cost children’s services more money in the long run.”
But Norfolk County Council said: “We want to ensure that children with disabilities can make the most of the range of community based support that is available, so that we can ensure that residential short-breaks provision is focused on children with the most complex needs and those who are at risk of coming into our care.
“We have decided that, from the end of August, we will no longer commission places at Morley House. Mid-week boarding that is accessed by some children will also cease.
“We are working with Break, who run Morley House, to see how we can continue to use the home for children with the greatest need.
“We understand some families will be disappointed, but we have to use our resources in the most efficient way to ensure we are able to support as many children as possible with additional needs.
“We will assess all children affected to ensure they continue to receive the most appropriate support.
“We will be supporting children and families in the coming months to help them transition to any new services.”
Morley House is one of two sites in Lynn where respite breaks are currently provided for the county council. The other is the Marshfields complex in West Lynn, which the council runs and has been rated outstanding by Ofsted.