We have welcomed the Government’s new aspirations for social care for disabled children in England. However, we are calling on ministers to allocate the funding lifeline services needed to realise their bold ambitions.
In its Children’s Social Care Implementation Plan, the Department for Education commits to a series of actions, including:
- commissioning a review into how legislation for disabled children could be simplified and streamlined, so that entitlements, referral routes and processes are clearer
- improving access to support for disabled children so they receive the necessary help while simultaneously removing the stigmas and barriers around asking for help
- providing greater national direction so practitioners can improve the quality of services for disabled children.
The plan is the Government’s response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, which recommended that a temporary injection of roughly £2 billion would be needed over five years for children’s social care. The Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) has estimated that there is a £573million annual gap in local authority funding for social care for disabled children alone.
However, the Government announced that it will only invest £200million in children’s social are over the next two years leaving a massive shortfall.
“The pressure on parents of having a child who needs complex, life-long care is immense, so social care is vitally important to relieve this stress, spend time as a family and do the things that other families do,” says our CEO Andy Fletcher.
“These families rely on support in the home and frequent short breaks for respite. And yet, children’s hospice and palliative care providers find it challenging to access sustainable funding from local authorities for the vital social care services they deliver.
“Together for Short Lives welcomes the fact that the Government has recognised the additional challenges facing disabled children and their families – and has set out a series of ambitions for overcoming them. Ministers must now invest much more if seriously ill children and their families are to access sustainable social care that meets their complex needs.”