Latest news from Disabled Children’s Partnership

Tuesday 4 May 2021

The Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), of which Contact is a leading member, has had a busy few months campaigning for a dedicated Covid catch-up fund for disabled children in England.

The campaign group, made up of 80 disability charities, has released two sets of surveys done by their 1200-strong parent panel, which is tracking the long-term impact of the pandemic on disabled children and their families in England.

The surveys have helped to shine a light on the situation families are facing and gained support for the campaign from MPs.

Impact of the campaign

There have been some positive moves from government, including: a higher level of funding per pupil for special schools/special units; schools being able to use their recovery funding to pay for therapies; repeated statements that therapists should be back in schools; and guidance calling for local authorities to prioritise short breaks and respite. 

Minister Ford has written about this in a blog for Council for Disabled Children. 

Dedicated Covid recovery plan for disabled children

The DCP welcomes these steps, but it is concerned that un-ringfenced funding plus guidance is not enough to ensure better support for children and families – and this concern is borne out by families’ experiences. 

That is why the campaign group continues to call for a dedicated Covid recovery plan for disabled children, and asking the government how it will ensure that children and families do get the support they need.

Parliamentary bills and reviews relevant to families with disabled children

In addition, the Government has commissioned an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, led by Josh MacAlister. DCP has been concerned that the review may not properly consider the social care needs of disabled children and their families. 

Whilst those concerns remain, DCP has had some positive engagement with the review and is arranging for parents to speak with officials involved.

The campaign group is also looking out for the Queen’s Speech on 11 May, when it is expected that a new Health and Social Care Bill will be confirmed. And in the next couple of months, it is anticipating the publication of both the National Disability Strategy and the SEND Review.