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Parliamentary Inquiry to shine spotlight on childcare for disabled children

Tuesday 6th May 2014

We are calling for evidence as a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into childcare for disabled children is launched. Although there is a noticeable political and media focus on childcare more generally, the issue of childcare for disabled children remains neglected.

The inquiry will be co-chaired by Conservative MP Robert Buckland and Labour MP Pat Glass, and is being supported by Contact a Family, Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM), the Family and Childcare Trust, and Working Families.

The inquiry will take evidence until Monday 9 June 2014 and is due to report in July 2014 with recommendations.

Why this inquiry is needed

Una Summerson, campaigns manager at Contact a Family says: "When we asked parents if it is more difficult to find childcare for their disabled child compared to their other children 94 per cent agreed. More needs to be done to tackle the lack of affordable and quality childcare choices for disabled children and young people that's why parents should send their views to this inquiry."

Hannah, Co-Founder of RosyandBo.com and mum of Rosy aged seven, says "People forget, you can't share pickups, play-dates after school or exchange childcare in the way you can with children who do not have special needs or disabilities. For Rosy, who has autism and learning disabilities, I would like her to be included in a mainstream after-school club or holiday playscheme, so she can go with her brother who does not have special needs. I have to find private provision prepared to take her and then look for a support assistant to go with her…which makes it expensive."

What the MPs say

Robert Buckland MP: "As a parent and local campaigner, I fully appreciate the value of good quality childcare for disabled children and young people. Childcare helps children form new friendships, supports participation and good educational outcomes, and helps parents to balance caring, their own wellbeing, and work.

Despite the growing political and public attention childcare has received, the issue of childcare for disabled children, has received comparatively little attention.We have launched this inquiry to ensure that disabled children are part of the ongoing childcare debate."

Pat Glass MP added: "As a result of the time I spent working with local councils, I know how children with disabilities and their families benefit when services are inclusive and meet their needs. In light of what we know about the impact a lack of good quality, affordable childcare has on families with disabled children, it is more important than ever that children with additional needs are well-served by childcare provision going into the future."

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, including disabled children and their families.

How to share your views

The Parliamentary Inquiry on childcare for disabled children now seeks the views of parents, childcare providers, local authorities and other interested parties as to what they believe would improve the childcare offer for disabled children and young people. We are looking for written evidence in the first instance across four broad themes:

  • Cost
  • Availability
  • Quality
  • Information

Please send your response of no more than 2000 words to childcarefordisabledchildren@edcm.org.uk

Families of disabled children can also respond by filling in our online survey

The consultation will be open until Monday 7th June 2014, 12pm.