Pledge to increase child care for disabled children

The government is exploring how to make it easier for parents of
disabled young children to find the child care they need to enter

Baroness Cathy Ashton, minister for the new Sure Start Unit and
for special needs told 0-19 that civil servants were
working on plans to give more financial support to disabled
children’s parents, and also to increase the supply of child
carers who were competent to look after disabled children.

In an interview to mark Sure Start Month she said that recent
government advice on breastfeeding would have no impact on the
government’s child care policies.

The Sure Start Unit – which straddles the Department for
Education and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions –
would not be discouraging mothers from separating from babies under
six months to go out to work, despite new Department of Health
guidance that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first
six months.

Ashton said families needed to make their own choices about what
was best for them.

“The DoH says babies do best when they are breastfed for six
months. Or fed with milk – breast milk is best but it’s also
an issue about the introduction of solids. “It doesn’t mean
you can’t arrange for your baby to be cared for and given
breast milk. Lots of mums do it all the time.”

Families with disabled children have been telling the government
that its strategy for ending child poverty – getting parents into
work – won’t work for them because they can’t find
suitable child care, and where they can the cost is too high.

Ashton said: “I’ve got some of my staff working now on how
to support families with disabled children with the higher costs of
child care, and how to make sure the supply of people who can
support their children is available. How do we develop with our
child care industry the expertise to be able to offer parents high
quality child care for their child with special needs or a

Ashton said she was interested in hearing from people who were
looking for child care now or who had found it and had good

“We know there are childminder networks with a focus on children
with special needs who are very good, and nurseries that are
extremely good, but we need to be spreading that good

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.