Legal resource will prevent families missing out on early years education
Monday 6th July 2015
Today we're launching a new guide to help families with disabled children who have been failed by the childcare system. The resource is part of our new campaign 'Levelling the Playing Field', calling for equal access to childcare for disabled children.
We've produced the guide with legal experts Irwin Mitchell, barrister Steve Broach from Monckton Chambers and the charities Every Disabled Child Matters and the Family and Childcare Trust.
Understanding the right to early education
The guide, Helping you access free childcare for your 2, 3 and 4 year old [PDF], will make it easier for parents with disabled children to understand their rights around the government's free early education offer. It will also help them challenge decisions made by local authorities and childcare providers that result in their child being denied access to free childcare.
Today's launch comes after recent government proposals to extend its free early years education offer to working parents. We're publishing the guide one year after an independent parliamentary inquiry concluded that families with disabled children are being failed by childcare at every step.
Disabled children continue to be sidelined
Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact a Family, says:
"We welcome the current political focus on childcare generally, but disabled children continue to be sidelined.
"Disabled pre-schoolers are missing out on the early education and social opportunities enjoyed by their non-disabled peers, and too many of their parents are being denied the opportunity to work because suitable childcare simply isn't available.
"Our new guide is a first step towards levelling the playing field by helping parents understand their rights and showing them what they can do if the system lets them down."
Join our campaign 'Levelling the Playing Field'
If you're a family with adisabled children under 5 years old, we'd like you to take part in a short survey about access to the free early education offer.
The findings will be used to build up a national picture of the barriers faced by these families.
Stacie Lewis from London is mum to May who has Cerebral Palsy. She says:
"When I wanted to return to work a year after May's birth it should have been straightforward. It was anything but. Finding childcare was a nightmare. It was a challenge, true - but it was also heartbreaking. It was very early in my daughter's life to learn that many people would only pay lip-service when it came to helping her."