Mencap is supporting the principles behind the Every Child in Need campaign which has highlighted concerns about the government’s proposals to change the legal framework protecting the assessment of vulnerable children in need of social care support.
The government is currently consulting on plans to cut 'red tape' in order to allow local authority children's services departments more freedom to meet children's needs. If the proposed changes go through, part of these changes will involve the removal of minimum standards by which local authorities must abide, such as deadlines for conducting assessments of a child’s needs.
The Every Child in Need campaign has highlighted its concerns that these proposals, if enacted, could make it harder for children who are in need of support to receive it in a timely way.
Steve Broach, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, said: “Some of England’s most vulnerable children will lose out under planned changes to the child protection system. In a time of cuts, to take away minimum standards to vulnerable children and to rely on individual local authorities to get it right every time on their own is dangerous and irresponsible.”
These changes will affect all disabled children, including children with a learning disability, who, by law, are eligible for these assessments. Research shows that disabled children are 3.4 times more likely to be abused than non-disabled children.
Mencap hopes to use the consultation period to help inform the final decision the Department for Education makes so that there are no unintended consequences for vulnerable children. Mencap believes it is important that children and young people with a learning disability are able to receive the support they need and that they should have the right to be safe from bullying and abuse.
Please sign the e-petition to the Department for Education which has been created by the Every Child in Need campaign.
Any other organisations wishing to pledge their support for the campaign can do so by visiting the Every Child in Need website.
 Sullivan and Knutson (2000) Maltreatment and Disabilities: a population based epidemiological study, Child Abuse and Neglect 24 (10).