Charities applaud £340m package but push for rights

Campaigners are set to push for new legal rights for families with disabled children to back up a £340m funding package for the group.

Charity coalition Every Disabled Child Matters has welcomed the government’s announcement this week but said that legally enforceable duties should also be placed on local bodies to ensure services are provided.

The package, announced by economic secretary to the Treasury Ed Balls, covers the comprehensive spending review period 2008-11. It is part of the Treasury-led policy review of children and young people announced in the 2006 Budget. The government also announced it would create a public service agreement on services for disabled children underpinned by a core offer outlining the support available to them locally.

Steve Broach, manager of the Every Disabled Child Matters Campaign, said the money and the agreement were a “fantastic result” but that ministers also needed to introduce ­legislative changes to ensure that services ­continued to be provided if the funding dried up or a new government came in.

“We want to get the support that is being offered given a rights basis,” he said.

He added that the funding needed to be part of a 10-year plan to transform services for disabled children. Ministers have indicated that extra funding could be forthcoming and stated that the government would meet councils’ additional costs.

Main points of review

● £280m for more short breaks for disabled children.
● £35m for pilot project to provide accessible child care.
● £19m for a transition support programme.
● £5m for setting up parenting forums.

Further information
Aiming High for Disabled Children: Better Support for Families

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 Amy Taylor



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