September 30, 2019

Children with disabilities face enough challenges, it’s time for social injustice to stop

On 25th June 2019 the then Prime Minister Theresa May launched a new drive to tackle barriers faced by disabled people. This package of measures set to tackle injustices faced by disabled people in the workplace, at home and in the community. However, they don’t appear to have addressed the needs of disabled children and their families.

Amanda Batten, chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, said:

“Putting the new equalities hub in the cabinet office is a positive step. It will help ensure that disability policy is at the heart of government, which is what DCP have called for since the coalition was formed. But disabled children need to be central to this hub, so the inequalities they face from the start of life can be addressed.

“It is startling that a major announcement on support for disabled people appears to makes no reference to disabled children and their families and the particular challenges they face. That’s why we are calling for the needs of disabled children to be prioritised disabled children and for government to give back the £434 million funding shortfall for social care services for disabled children, as well as increasing funding for health and education.”

The Disabled Children’s Partnership is a major coalition of more than 70 organisations campaigning for improved health and social care. They have recently launched an initiative entitled 'The Secret Life of Us’ to  bring to life the realities of the challenges disabled children, young people and their families face in living a life many of us take for granted. It reveals the parts of their lives that most people simply do not see.

They state that they want to remove the barriers to people being able to relate to the lives of disabled children, creating greater understanding, affinity and empathy for them and their families.

Quite shockingly, research they have carried out shows that, 43% of people say they don’t know anyone with a disability, despite 1 in 5 people being disabled, and 97% of parents with a disabled child say the public do not understand the challenges they face every day.

The 'Give it back' campaign

The Disabled Children’s Partnership is also asking the Government to give back the £434 million shortfall in funding for social care for disabled children and their families. Parent-carer Vickey has written to the Chancellor asking him to Give it Back. Add you name to her letter here.

DCP research published last year revealed a £434million funding gap for social care for disabled children and their families. How this impacts on the disabled is surely significant, so DCP asked parents how this lack of support affecting their lives.

More than 3,400 parents completed the survey and the shocking results reveal the full impact that inadequate and insufficient services have on families with disabled children:

  • Only 4% of parent carers say they receive the right support to care for their disabled children safely.
  • A third of parents say their disabled child has suffered unnecessary pain because the right equipment, doctor or health service hasn’t been available
  • More than a third of parents say their disabled child has missed school or college because staff or services aren’t available
  • More than half of parents with disabled children  have been treated by a GP for depression, anxiety or stress
  • More than half (53%) of parents with disabled children have been forced to give up a paid job to care for their disabled child. (At the moment there is an extra ‘you’ on social banner.)
  • 64% of separated parent carers those say a lack of support had a major impact on the breakdown of a relationship.

It is clear that the disabled, including those with cerebral palsy, are suffering a number of injustices currently. Whether as a result of a lack of awareness or directly due to government policy, the impact of these injustices are significant both to those who are disabled and their families.

Hopefully events like the upcoming World Cerebral Palsy Day will at least help raise awareness of the needs of those with cerebral palsy, whilst fantastic campaigners from organisations like the Disabled Children’s Partnership do their utmost to change how the disabled are treated in society.

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