Care for Disabled Children 'Poor'

Article excerpt

The quality of social services care available to Britain's 49,000 severely disabled children is 'often extremely poor', a damning report today reveals. Almost three times more is spent looking after juvenile prisoners than providing services for severely disabled children, the Centre for Policy Studies has claimed.

And the right-of-centre think tank believes the situation is set to get worse as medical advances mean more disabled children are born and live longer.

The report, People, Not Budgets: Valuing Disabled Children, found 48% of families with disabled children receive no support at all from outside the family and a further 30% receive less than two hours help per week.

Four out of five families said health and social services were 'not properly co-ordinated'.

The findings follow a number of critical reports into the state of Welsh social services and the provision for disabled children.

Alun Thomas, of the Disability Rights Commission Wales, said, 'Greater efforts are needed to share best practice between local authorities and value staff involved in social care for the growing number of disabled children in Wales.

'One of the key challenges we face is how to develop cross-border services - impairments vary enormously in type and implication and many children have multiple impairments.

'The populations of some local authority areas are relatively small and developing 'impairment specific' services in some single authority areas is unviable.

'Social services departments need to be aware that they provide a service to disabled children too.'

The CPS report, which is published as new laws come into force requiring better access for the disabled, said, 'The level of support given to these families by social services is often extremely poor. …