Charities Warn UK Government That Families With Disabled Children Are At Breaking Point

by richardhutton

Almost two thirds (62%) of families with disabled children are not getting critical support in areas such as childcare or nursery places, appropriate schools, essential therapies, or even healthcare in their local area. A new report created by leading disability charities, including Scope, The National Autistic Society, Sense, 4Children, and The Family and Parenting Institute, has warned that families with disabled children are at breaking point; and are acting as shock absorbers for reduced incomes, increased unemployment, and the rising costs to daily living:

These families want to use services that many families take for granted, for example: childcare so that the parents can work; short breaks that enable families to have a rest and for a disabled child to enjoy a leisure activity; therapeutic services to support development such as speech and language; or the right educational setting so a child can learn and reach their potential.

Our survey shows that the challenges that parents face accessing local services has a severe and negative impact on families and their quality of life. Eight in ten families who could not get local services reported feeling anxious and stressed (80%) and just over half (51%) said they missed out on doing family activities together such as days out or celebrating birthdays. Families were often forced to make difficult choices, in some instances be apart so that they could receive all the support they needed.

The Education Select Committee has begun to consider the draft Children and Families Bill. The charities involved in the Keep Us Close report are concerned that the Bill could fail to improve the lives of families that have disabled children, and not address the critical shortage of local services.

For more details, please see Keep us close: Ensuring good, inclusive and accessible local services for disabled children and their families.