Parliamentary inquiry into childcare for disabled children
Together with Contact (previously Contact a Family), Every Disabled Child Matters, and Working Families we are supporting an independent Parliamentary Inquiry. This looked at the problems faced by disabled children and their families in accessing quality, affordable childcare. Robert Buckland MP and Pat Glass MP co-chaired the Inquiry, together with a panel of other MPs and Peers.
Members of the inquiry committee
- Robert Buckland MP (Co-chair)
- Pat Glass MP (Co-chair)
- Baroness Eaton
- Lord Touhig
- Sarah Champion MP
- Alex Cunningham MP
- Theresa Pearce MP
- David Ward MP
Why this inquiry is needed
All families face childcare challenges, but these problems increase dramatically for disabled children and young people. Many parent carers described being discouraged or simply turned away by a provider, and some were offered fewer than 15 hours of early education they are entitled to. Many childcare providers do not believe the current system ensures high quality care for disabled children and young people.
Inquiry co-chair Robert Buckland MP said, "Childcare has received, the issue of childcare for disabled children has received comparatively little attention."
Fellow co-chair Pat Glass MP added, "This inquiry wants to make concrete and workable proposals as to how to tackle an issue that has negatively affected disabled children and their families for many years so as to ensure that future childcare policy gets its right for all children."
Report: Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children
The Inquiry held three oral evidence sessions and put out a call for written evidence, which received 35 responses from organisation representing parents, providers and local authorities as well as over 1000 parent/carers shared their experiences of finding affordable, quality childcare for disabled children.
Key findings include:
- Parent carers are often charged higher than average fees: 86% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey reported paying £5 or more per hour, with 38% paying £11-20 and 5% paying more than £20. This compares to the national averages of around £3.50 – 4.50 per hour.
- 41% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey said their children did not access the full 15 hours of the free entitlement for early education for three and four year olds.
- 33% of parent carers say that the lack of experienced staff was the reason for not accessing childcare, echoing concerns evident in the Childcare and early years survey of parents 2012-2013.
- 92% of parent carers say finding childcare for disabled children is more difficult than for non-disabled children.
- Nearly all of the parents questioned (86 per cent) also said that they paid more than the average for childcare and around three-quarters of parents had cut their working hours or left jobs because of problems accessing appropriate childcare.
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