A cross party inquiry today reveals widespread failures for disabled children across the childcare system. MPs and Peers are calling for all parties to address the serious faults at the heart of our childcare system which has led to thousands of disabled children - from toddlers to teenagers - missing out on vital education and social opportunities.
The Parliamentary Inquiry into Childcare for Disabled Children found that:
- 41% of families with disabled children aged three and four are unable to access the full 15 hours free entitlement to childcare and early years education due to a chronic lack of appropriate settings or lack of funding.
- 86% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey reported paying above average childcare costs, with 38% paying £11-20 and 5% paying more than £20.
- 72% of families with disabled children have cut back or given up work because of childcare problems
The childcare situation gets worse as a disabled child gets older: the cost increases and availability gets even more limited as mainstream holiday and after school clubs are often not inclusive
There is confusion among local authorities, nurseries and schools about what their duties are in providing childcare for disabled children.
To begin to tackle some of these key issues, the Inquiry is calling on all parties to commit to developing a coherent policy to improve access to affordable, accessible, and appropriate childcare for all children.
Robert Buckland MP and co-chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry said:
Pat Glass MP and co-chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry said:
Children’s Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson said:
The Parliamentary Inquiry has been supported by Every Disabled Child Matters, Family and Childcare Trust, Contact a Family and Working Families.
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Notes to Editors
- The Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children was co-chaired by Robert Buckland MP and Pat Glass MP. The inquiry committee consisted of a crossbench group of MPs and Peers including Baroness Eaton, Lord Touhig, Sarah Champion MP, Alex Cunningham MP, Teresa Pearce MP and David Ward MP.
- The Inquiry held three oral evidence sessions in June and put out a call for written evidence, which received 35 responses from organisations representing parents, providers and local authorities as well as almost 1200 responses from individual parent carers.
- The Inquiry has published its findings in a report published today: Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children: levelling the playing field for families with disabled children and young people
About Every Disabled Child Matters
Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) is the national campaign to get rights and justice for every disabled child. It is run by four leading organisations working with disabled children and their families: Contact a Family, Council for Disabled Children, Mencap and the Special Educational Consortium. Find out more at www.edcm.org.uk
About the Family and Childcare Trust
The Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families. We are a leading national family charity in the field of policy, research and advocacy on childcare and family issues, with over 40 years’ experience. Our on-the-ground work with parents and providers informs our research and campaigns. We focus on the early years and childcare because they are crucial to boosting children’s outcomes throughout life and supporting parents to work.
About Contact a Family
Contact a Family is the only UK charity that provides information, advice and support to families with disabled children whatever their condition or disability. Last year we helped 320,000 families to access life-changing help. Visit www.cafamily.org.uk
About Working Families
Working Families is the UK’s leading work-life balance organisation. The charity helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. Visit www.workingfamilies.org.uk