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    Parents of autistic child lodge action against Belgian state

    © Belga
    The shortage of places in institutions for autistic children is, once again, in the news.
    © Belga

    The parents of an autistic child, living in Brussels, launched interlocutory proceedings before the Court of First Instance in Brussels yesterday (Monday). Their complaint is for non-compliance with their child’s health rights. Owing to a lack of places in specialist institutions, the child has been unable to receive appropriate personalised care.

    This was being reported on RTBF (the radio and television channel) yesterday.

    The federal state lawyer requested an adjournment of around ten days to attempt to find a placement solution, which could now be implemented by the end of October.

    The next hearing was scheduled for September 14th.

    This case is, by no means unique. Within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation there are some 1,300 places within specialist institutions, although the number of autistic children is estimated at a staggering 11,000.

    In 2013, the Council of Europe had already criticized Belgium for a shortage of accommodation places, and indeed solutions, for high dependency handicapped individuals.

    Since then, the Walloon and Brussels health and social care authorities launched an initiative to support those suffering from autism.

    The remit of such authorities was to comprehensively establish needs and instigate, in the long run, individualised life-long support.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times