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Holiday childcare crisis for parents of disabled children
Friday 21 October 2011
New report shows disabled children are denied access to childcare over the summer holidays
The survey of 1,192 parents in England shows that families with disabled children face a lack of appropriate holiday childcare, high childcare costs and even discrimination, as local authorities fail in their duty to provide childcare.
It reveals that two in three families found it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to find appropriate childcare for their disabled child this summer. One in 10 were refused a place in childcare provision because of their child's disability. When parents of disabled children do get childcare, it is estimated that 19% face costs of up to £11,700 per year, compared to the national average of £5,028 (according to the Day Care Trust).
The survey also highlights the struggle that parents of disabled children face in maintaining employment. While 19% of those surveyed were able to work full-time while caring for their disabled child, nearly half (41%) stated that they need childcare to be able to work.
As Parents’ Week ends and half-term begins, KIDS and Mencap are calling on local authorities to improve their childcare provision for families with disabled children, who have been among the hardest hit by cuts to local authority budgets. They urge local authorities to make reasonable adjustments, so that all children can access good quality childcare.
“Local authorities have a duty to provide sufficient childcare, which should be a universal service,” said David Congdon, Mencap’s head of campaigns and policy. “Too often, families of disabled children are let down during the holidays, because of the inability of local authorities to provide suitable childcare for a fair price. We hope that the recently announced additional funding for childcare will reach disabled children and their families as a priority.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of KIDS, said: “Caring for disabled children without the right support can have significant consequences for a whole family, not just a disabled child. The effect can be profound – disabled children lose out on opportunities to socialise with peers, relationships between parents can become strained or even break, and siblings or other family members may take on additional caring responsibilities.”
Read the findings of the survey
Find out more about KIDS