Reunited at last! Moulton mum finally sees autistic daughter after lockdown separation

Olivia Davide took daughter Bella, 13, for fish and chips on Saturday after being separated since April 1

By Sarah Ward
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 4:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 4:24 pm
Bella saw her mother again on Saturday for the first time since April 1.
Bella saw her mother again on Saturday for the first time since April 1.

A mother separated from her autistic daughter for three months due to the Government’s social distancing rules has finally been able to see her.

Olivia Davide even missed daughter Bella’s 13th birthday due to the strict rules about contact with children being cared for by local authorities in residential care.

Because Bella would not have been able to observe the social distancing guidelines Northamptonshire County Council’s children’s services said her family was unable to visit her at her residential care home Arnold House in Northampton.

During the lockdown, there was a major coronavirus outbreak at the home, with 16 members of staff and residents contracting the virus.

Olivia, who last saw Bella on April 1, had been unsuccessfully attempting over the past few months to see her daughter, but on Friday (July 17) she was sent an email by the local authority to say after a change of guidance from Public Health England, she could see Bella again.

They were reunited the next day and she also saw her daughter again on Sunday.

Olivia said: “I went to pick her up on Saturday and took her for fish and chips as we used to. We then went home and she went into the fridge and took the cheese. It was completely normal.

“I was a bit apprehensive about how it was going to go and she was shocked at first but she soon settled back into it.

“I can now sleep easier at night as it has been very hard not being able to see her.”

Bella, who is non-verbal, went into residential care in 2016 after her family decided it was the best place for her needs.

Recently the home had said that following a risk assessment Olivia could meet up with her daughter in a field, but she had refused saying this would have been unsettling for Bella who was used to going out to places on the three days a week they normally saw each other.

The email to Olivia on Friday from Michael Clark, a council officer, said: “I have taken further advice this week from Public Health England and I am pleased to inform you that their advice has now changed.

“A second risk assessment has now been drawn up for you, which allows contact for you as before the lockdown restrictions. The only restrictions are that you may not enter the building and if anyone in your “household” shows symptoms you and the people living in your home would be expected to self-isolate for 14 days, as would we.”

The home, which is run by the local authority, is currently being investigated by the police following abuse and neglect allegations.A 45-year-old woman will appear in court on an assault charge on August 13.