Too many parents of disabled children are being told they do not qualify for short breaks, according to the latest report into provision in England.
The Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign’s second evaluation of parental experience of short break provision revealed that while levels and quality of short breaks have improved since the investment committed under the Aiming High for Disabled Children agenda, more needs to be done to ensure regular, reliable and appropriate short breaks are available.
No Going Back! Parents’ Expectations of Short Breaks also found that some parents were offered inappropriate provision or have to repeatedly provide training to different short-break workers before feeling confident they can care for their child.
Another rising concern revealed in the research is the number of parents experiencing councils’ misuse of “eligibility criteria” which place restrictions on specific groups of children.
Christine Lenehan, EDCM board member and director of the Council for Disabled Children said: “We welcome the early focus that the coalition government has given to improving access to short breaks for families with disabled children. This report shows that although some parents report improved levels of good-quality short breaks and better experiences of information provision from their local authority, the system is still failing too many families.
“We call on the government to empower local authorities and primary care trusts to improve their delivery of short breaks. The forthcoming Department for Education green paper on special educational needs and the Childhood and Families taskforce presents an ideal opportunity for the government to take charge of this agenda.”