Government unveils new package for disabled children
The government has unveiled a range of measures designed to improve services for disabled children and teenagers.The measures are part of its Aiming High for Disabled Children strategy.
The package includes advice for schools to tackle the bullying of disabled children, a new body to help local authorities and primary care trusts provide short breaks for families with disabled children, a new “core offer” which outlines the service provision families can expect from local authorities and primary care trusts, and a £35 million series of pilot projects to enhance childcare for disabled children.
Children, schools and families secretary Ed Balls said: "Bullying children with special educational needs and disabilities has to be the cruellest expression of cowardice. Singling out a child because they are different is unacceptable and wrong. We all need to look beyond the disability and see the young person."He also acknowledged that “many parents of disabled children feel that the support they need hasn’t always been there”.
Commenting on the childcare pilot project, children's minister Beverley Hughes said that ensuring parents of disabled children have access to good, high quality childcare was a key part of the government's work on social justice, as it lifts children and their families out of poverty, and gives disabled children equal opportunities.
Steve Broach, campaign manager at Every Disabled Child Matters, welcomed the package of support.But he said services for disabled children were falling short in some areas of the country. He said: "Aiming High for Disabled Children must bring an end to the postcode lottery. It should not be too much to ask that families with disabled children, wherever they live, should have the same right to an ordinary family life as other families."