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Family calls for volunteers to 'show us you care' for disabled
A FAMILY has encouraged people to become carers to help parents with disabled children take a much-needed break.
Kyla Bates, 35, and her husband Paul, 38, from Chipping Norton, have been looking after children with disabilities for four years.
Short-break carers look after disabled children for one or two nights a month to help them make new friends and offer parents a break.
Mrs Bates said: “It makes a huge difference to families.
“It is hard work looking after children with disabilities and when you are doing that day in day out it can become a big issue.
“With one child we had, his bedroom routine was hard work and his mum had been doing that every night for 12 years without a break.
“In some cases it can mean the difference between a child being able to stay with their family and going into care because the family can’t cope. It can be that serious.”
She added: “It is hard work, but we do enjoy it and enjoy getting to know the child. They have got some lovely personalities.
“People always say what we do is amazing, but we don’t think so.
“If you are interested in it and could offer that little bit of time to help families, just go and find out about it. I highly recommend it.”
The family, who have two children of their own, Callum, three, and Megan, one, have looked after three disabled children in four years.
There are currently 26 short-break carers in Oxfordshire, who support 23 families.
Oxfordshire County Council launched a campaign last week, coinciding with Share the Care Week, to encourage people to become short-break carers.
County council Fostering and Adoption Team recruitment officer Maria White said: “We are looking to raise awareness locally by putting a spotlight on the fantastic all-round benefits of being a short-break carer.
“The children involved get the chance to be in new surroundings with different people, which is hugely valuable for them, while families get a break.
“It is also a wonderful opportunity for the carers themselves and their families, as they can help with the development of a child’s life.”
She said specialist training and support is provided and short-break carers receive an allowance for their time.
Checks are carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau, NSPCC, probation officers and the local authority before references are considered.
Those who are successful are matched with a child after a period of getting to know them and their families.
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