Government commits to more social care support for children with learning disabilities

Campaigners call amendment to the Children and Families Bill a 'hugely positive step' for disabled children and young people and their families

Child on swing
Picture credit: Gary Brigden

Councils will soon have a legal duty to deliver learning disabled children’s social care needs after an amendment to the Children and Families Bill.

The government will amend the bill to ensure assessed social care support needs, outlined in the new Education, Health and Care Plan, are legally enforceable from September 2014.

Until March 2013, when the Bill placed a duty on health agencies to deliver support, only children’s educational needs were supported. With this new amendment, children’s education, health and social care needs will be supported when the duty comes into force.

The government has also said it will look further at how the appeals process for the SEN system can be improved. Campaigners have been calling for a single appeals process across education, health and social care rather than three separate complaints systems.

The government also announced that it will be making £30 million available to fund more than 1,800 ‘Independent Supporters’ across the country to help families navigate the SEN system and support them through the assessment process.

James Robinson, policy officer at Mencap, said: “While we are yet to see the actual government amendments to the Bill that have been promised, we believe this could be a hugely positive step towards ensuring that the reforms to the SEN system work better for children and young people with a learning disability and their families.”

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