Parents of disabled children cannot afford to work because their childcare costs are so high, according to a survey by the the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign.
The survey of 50 families receiving help from the Family Fund found only 24% of them accessed childcare. One parent said: “I could not afford to go back to work full time as both of my children have disabilities and would need separate childcare…the cost would make working a pointless exercise.”
The survey follows concern from charities that, although the government is cutting support for childcare costs by 10%, it has yet to set out any replacement proposals for childcare support within the Universal Credit, proposed as part of the Welfare Reform Bill.
EDCM also claims government plans will halve the financial support that 63% of disabled children in low-income and jobless households receive through disability additions within the universal credit.
A parent wrote: “If it is reduced I don’t know what I would be able to do. It is extremely worrying and my son, like many other disabled children, will be the one to suffer.”
EDCM is calling on the government to improve the quality and availability of childcare for disabled children and to maintain levels of financial support for families of disabled children within the universal credit.
Derek Walpole, chief executive of the Family Fund, said many parents of disabled children wanted work but had to pay up to three times more for specialist childcare than mainstream.
Christine Lenehan, EDCM board member, said the Welfare Reform Bill was a historic chance to allow families with disabled children to lift themselves out of poverty. “We hope the government is able to grasp this opportunity and adapt their proposals to address the specific employment needs of families with disabled children.”
Community Care is awaiting a response from the Department for Work and Pensions.
What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails