Council sorry for offending caring couple

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 5, 2010

Bury Council has apologised to a strictly Orthodox couple told by a social worker to lessen their religious commitment in order to care for a son with cerebral palsy.

Eve Field from Prestwich complained to Bury Children's Disability Team after the social worker referred to her husband's religious activities, such as praying and studying, as "his choice".

"She wrote in her report that we should put our religion on the back burner until our children are old enough to need less physical care. It was unbelievable," Mrs Field said.

The Fields have now been granted an evening carer to help with their six-year-old boy, who cannot dress himself and has difficulty walking. They have two other children and Mrs Field had requested extra support to ease the burden on her husband, a part-time teacher who takes over care in the evenings. He is also completing counselling training and studying for a rabbinic qualification.

Following an apology from the head of the council department and a personal visit by its assistant director, Mrs Field was pleased to be invited to participate in a departmental cultural awareness seminar to help explain the religious lifestyle of Orthodox Jews.

A council spokesman expressed regret "that Mrs Field felt that the service we originally provided did not fully meet her family's requirements. As a result, we have provided extra support, which we understand Mrs Field is happy with. We have also recently met with the Manchester Jewish Federation to discuss how best to meet the cultural needs of Orthodox Jewish families.

"Mrs Field has offered to come to our team training sessions in the autumn and we are delighted to accept. We hope we can forge a better working relationship."

    Last updated: 11:04am, August 5 2010