The report highlights that inadequate childcare can prevent parents from maintaining full-time employment – and, therefore, have an impact on the family’s income. Nearly half (43%) of those surveyed were unemployed, and cited the lack of affordable, appropriate childcare as a major reason. Just over a third worked part time, and less than a quarter were able to maintain a full-time job.
Although short break provision by local authorities should be separate to childcare provision, 62% of the parents surveyed also relied on childcare for a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities.
“Caring for disabled children without the right support can have significant consequences for a whole family, not just a disabled child,” says Kevin Williams, chief executive of KIDS. “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. The financial implications are clear from the survey results.
“Good-quality childcare provision isn’t a luxury. In the longer term, the cost of providing support for families that have broken under the strain of caring for a disabled child can be significantly higher than ensuring they have access to appropriate childcare support in the first place – and not just financially.”
KIDS and Mencap are calling on local authorities to improve their childcare provision, to meet the requirements of families with disabled children. The charities want them to make reasonable adjustments, so that all families can access good childcare.
“We know that families with a disabled child have many additional costs associated with their child’s care,” explains David Congdon, Mencap’s head of campaigns and policy. “Compounding this, parents face a real struggle caring for their disabled child and finding and maintaining full – or even part-time – employment.
“Local authorities have a duty to provide sufficient childcare, which should be a universal service. Too often families of disabled children are let down by local authorities’ inability to provide suitable childcare for a fair price. We hope that funding for childcare will reach disabled children and their families as a priority.”
Read the report