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Lack of Services for Disabled Children – Parliamentary Campaign Launch

December 1, 2017 1:17 PM
By Kirsten Johnson in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by South Lincolnshire Liberal Democrats

Disabled Children - VinceYesterday, the Disabled Children's Partnership campaign was launched in parliament. Lib Dem Leader Vince Cable came along to show his support, as well as many other MPs, peers, charities and family representatives. I was also pleased that former Care Minister Norman Lamb MP, was also able to come meet families.

The Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP) is an exciting new coalition of over 50 disability and children's charities. I sit on their Public Policy Group as a member of the Fragile X Society Board.

The DCP believes that children with disabilities in England face four big challenges:

There are not enough services,

Many of those that exist are not good enough,

Families cannot access them easily,

Services do not always work together and communicate well with each other.

The Disabled Children's Partnership yesterday launched their 5-step plan to address the growing crisis in health and social care for disabled children

  • Step 1 Make disabled children a priority: provide ministerial leadership to ensure a cross-departmental approach to improving outcomes for disabled children and their families.

  • Step 2 Review current funding: review funding of short breaks provision for disabled children and families.

  • Step 3 Clarify existing rights: clarify current rights and entitlements by co-producing with families guidance for local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGS) on their existing statutory obligations.

  • Step 4 Create a Fund: improve health and social care services for disabled children by providing an early intervention and family resilience fund.

  • Step 5 Change the system: conduct a review of health and social care law to strengthen and clarify rights and entitlements for disabled children and their families.

Here are some family stories that give more of a picture about why these key asks are so important. One point I'll briefly make here is that there are savings to be made by making sure disabled children and their families have access to early intervention services. DCP outlines that

  • providing support so that disabled children can stay at home with their parents means that £149,240 could be saved for a year's placement in a children's residential home;

and

  • modelling shows that if money was properly invested in better equipment, the proportion of disabled children requiring additional treatment or surgery would be halved, saving £130 million per year;

and

  • based on local authority case studies, there is a potential cost savings of £1,851,550 by using short breaks for just 22 children at risk of going into care.

Short breaks are vital. You can join me by adding your name to the DCP petition, calling on Government to protect these essential services. It is one way we can support families and children living with disability. And please lobby your MP to support this 5-step plan for improving the lives of disabled children.

* Kirsten Johnson is an Oxfordshire County Councillor and Day Editor for Lib Dem Voice. She stood as the Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election.