Parents of disabled children cannot afford basic items

Parents of disabled children are struggling to pay for basic
items such as bedding, according to a report from Barnardo’s,
writes Sally Gillen.

The report, ‘Still Missing Out’, shows that many children are
losing out on the necessities needed to lead ordinary lives,
casting doubts on the government’s pledge to end child poverty
within a generation.

The report, which is based upon in-depth interviews with 17
families, calls on the government to set a minimum income standard
to help families, to reform the benefits system to make it more
accessible, and to review its housing policy as many disabled
people are placed in houses unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Disabled children are also likely to be living in lone parent
families – which increases poverty – because of the stresses of
family life, it says.

Other recommendations included in the report are a
government-funded national awareness campaign on disability
benefits aimed at increasing take-up through the provision of
clear, accessible information in all formats and a range of

According to the report, the government also needs to provide
suitable childcare, accessible housing, and support to parents of
disabled children to find work.

Barnardo’s principal policy officer Neera Sharma said: “The
government has pledged to end child poverty within a generation.
However, there is little evidence from our report to show that
their initiatives to date are significantly improving the lives of
the UK’s 360,000 disabled children.”

She added: “Some [parents] could not work because they couldn’t
find suitable childcare for their disabled child, and those who did
work struggled with the cost of childcare and having insufficient
income. It costs three times as much to look after their children
than it does a non-disabled child.”

‘Still Missing Out’ is available from 01268 520 224

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