Laura Sharman 25 August 2016

Local authorities ‘not doing enough’ to support parents of disabled children

Local authorities ‘not doing enough’ to support parents of disabled children image

Councils should take a more flexible approach to childcare, charity says after it was revealed four out of five parents of children with complex needs struggled to access services over the summer holidays.

A survey from learning disability charity Mencap has shown 80% of parents who have a child with a learning disability struggled to access support services during the school summer holidays, and only 21% of local authorities reported having sufficient childcare for disabled children.

The majority (93%) of respondents said it was easier finding care for non-disabled children than it was for disabled children.

More than half (56%) of the carers who took part in the survey struggle to access short breaks and respite services and 7% highlighted a lack of access to portage, a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Parents of disadvantaged children aged 2 and of all 3 and 4 years old are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week. However, just 40% of parents of children with a learning disability say their child is able to access the full amount.

‘For many parents of children with a learning disability this means nonstop care, 24 hours a day 7 days a week,’ Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, said.

‘Having to care for their child who may have complex needs whilst juggling their work and other demands can push many families to breaking point.’

‘Having accessible and suitable childcare on offer can be a lifeline for many families,’ he continued.

‘But, due to a lack of sufficient provision from local authorities and inflexible provision of the services that are available, we are seeing many families are unable to access services and are often left to struggle alone.

‘It is unacceptable that, despite obligations, yet again local authorities are still not doing enough to help families who are being pushed into moments of crisis.’

‘This needs to change. We need to invest in these vital services and ensure equal access to them for children with a learning disability as they can be the difference between families reaching breaking point or not,’ he added.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Assistant Director Property

East Sussex County Council
Up to £86,000 (pay award pending)
Your track record of leading change will equip you to position Property Services as a true, collaborative partner delivering a... East Sussex
Recuriter: East Sussex County Council

Hylands Manager

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 10 - Starting at £43,836 per annum and rising to £48,309
This is a rare and exciting opportunity for an exceptional candidate to create and deliver a vision for Hylands House to ensure it can reach it’s f... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Service Manager (Estates and Development)

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Up to £60,000 per annum
We are seeking an experienced property professional to join us as Service Manager (Estates and Development). T Welwyn, Hertfordshire
Recuriter: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Assistant Traffic Management & Road Safety Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£22,021 to £26,999
We are looking for an Assistant Engineer to join our Traffic Engineering team. The Traffic Engineering Team forms part of... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regulatory Lawyer Solicitor - Selby

Selby District Council
£32,029 to £42,683 pro rata.
We are looking for a Solicitor/Barrister who can join our supportive team to provide legal support to Selby District Council and... Selby, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: Selby District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue