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A quarter of UK parents of disabled children provide 100 hours of care a week - new research launched today

Sunday 3rd December 2017

24 percent of UK parents of disabled children provide an unimaginable 100 plus hours of care every week.

This is the equivalent of working three full-time jobs simultaneously and without any of the usual benefits like regular or sick pay, holidays or a pension.

These are the findings of our Caring More Than Most report [PDF] (download the executive summary [PDF]), launched today on BBC Radio 5 Live, offering the most up-to-date and comprehensive profile of the half a million households who have a disabled child in the UK.

A fifth of parent carers unable to stay in work

Our Caring More Than Most research is conducted with the University of Leeds and analyses the country's largest available datasets, including the census.

We found:

  • 1 in 5 parent carers leave paid employment because they are unable to stay in work and maintain their caring responsibilities
  • Parent carers are more likely to say the care they provide has affected their health with nearly a third (31 per cent) saying that it had made them depressed
  • Parent carers are more likely to have financial difficulties compared to other carers (36% compared 21%)

Significant disadvantages faced in all key aspects of life

Caring More Than Most is published at a time when respite care centres for disabled children - a lifeline to families who provide countless hours of complex care - are being closed or threatened with closure up and down the country.

This includes Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford which was earmarked for closure on 16 November, the Beeches in Surrey which closes its doors on 30 November and Kentish Road in Southampton, which was earmarked for closure on 14 November.

Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact, says: "This report lays bare the significant disadvantage families with disabled children face in all key aspects of life - health, employment, economic situation and housing. Providing 100 hours of care a week - often emotional and stressful, sometimes physical and backbreaking - allows no time for work, social opportunities and leads to poor health.

We are calling on the government to act

Amanda continues: "The simple reason so many families are providing this level of care is down to a shameful lack of support. It is utterly unforgivable that some of those families are now faced with the small amount of support they do receive, being reduced or taken away."

"The value of respite care centres and other short breaks services is clear - as well as being nothing short of a lifeline for many families, they also save the state tens of millions of pounds by avoiding crisis intervention.

"That's why together with 50 other charities as the Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP), we are calling on the government to act now to stop the never ending cycle of disadvantage for families."

Support our Caring More Than Most campaign

We are a charity, and our work to tackle the inequality faced by families with disabled children depends on donations from our generous supporters.

Help us stop this never-ending cycle of disadvantage. Make a donation to our Caring More than Most appeal.



You can read more about and download the full report on our research page.