DCSF reports reveal care drought for disabled children

Most families with disabled children are not accessing care and family support services in the thirty English areas that have made a priority of improving provision for the group, Every Disabled Child Matters has said.

An analysis by the campaign group of Department for Children, Schools and Families reports on parental satisfaction in the areas, revealed parents were less satisfied with their access to care, than their access to health or education services for their children.

Over 70% said they had received no care and support services in the past 12 months, while one-third said they had received “little” or “none” of the care and support they required.

Social work support

The services include social work support, home adaptations, emotional support, childcare and play provision, and short breaks. Expanding short break provision is a key priority for the DCSF’s Aiming High for Disabled Children programme, and it has provided councils with £370m from 2008-11 for this purpose.

Christine Lenehan, director of the Council for Disabled Children and EDCM board member, said it was “concerned” by the figures, and said she would “hope to see real improvement over the next year”.

The DCSF is measuring parental satisfaction with services as part of a new performance indicator on disabled children’s services.

Priority given to disabled children’s services

The thirty areas surveyed this year were those where local authorities and their partners have selected the performance indicator for their local area agreements, which define local priorities for improvement.

The reports published this week follow a snapshot of performance, published by the DCSF in May, which provided average scores for overall parental satisfaction in each area but did not break these down into service areas.

All 152 local authority areas in England will be surveyed next year.

Lenehan added: “If we want disabled children and their families to be independent and resilient members of society, appropriate, local care and support services need to be in place.”

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