Standards aim high for disabled children

The government has produced draft standards for services for disabled children and their families against which councils and primary care trusts would be judged.

The Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families are seeking views on their proposed “core offer”, which has been developed as part of the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme launched last year.

The proposals set out how councils and PCTs would have to meet the five standards in the core offer: information, transparency, participation, assessment and feedback on services from users and their families.

It says assessments should be prompt and multi-agency, that children and their families should participate in designing their care packages, and that advocacy services should be available for children to give their feedback on services.

The Aiming High programme, backed by £430m from the DCSF from 2008-11 and further DH funding, is designed to ensure disabled children’s services are better co-ordinated and more comprehensive.

Specific resources are targeted at increasing the supply of short-term breaks, and improving access to child care and improving transitions to adulthood.

Steve Broach, campaign manager at the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, said the core offer was a “critical aspect” of the Aiming High agenda, which he described as a “real catalyst for change”, given current dissatisfaction with services.

The consultation runs until 13 March.

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This article appeared in the21 February issue under the headline “Standards aim high for disabled children”

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