Economic research published today by the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) – a coalition of 60 charities – shows there is a £1.5 billion funding gap for services needed by disabled children. This investment shortfall and its consequences will be highlighted on tonight’s BBC 1 Panorama ‘Fighting for my child’.
Richard Kramer vice-chair of Disabled Children’s Partnership and CEO of Sense, said: “There are over one million disabled children in the UK, 33% more than a decade ago. Yet we know that fewer disabled children than ever before are currently getting support. Our research shows there is a funding gap in disabled children’s services which means tens of thousands are missing out on vital help that enables them to do things other children take for granted like eat, talk, leave the house, have fun and attend school.
“Tonight’s Panorama will highlight the consequences of this – families at their wits end having to go to court to fight for vital support and up against a system with limited and dwindling resources. That’s why we are urgently calling on the government to plug the £1.5 billion gap – just 0.2% of total government spending – to ensure disabled children and their families have a decent quality of life.”
DCP’s research carried out by Development Economics, found that there is a £1.1 billion shortfall in funding for health services for disabled children and £433 million extra needed for social care.
Jordan Gadbury and Ashley Downes from Lincolnshire, who feature in tonight’s Panorama, are parents to 2 year old Charlie-Lewis Downes. Charlie-Lewis is the only one in the world to have the genetic disorder Say-Barber-Biesecker-Young-Simpson(SBBYS). The programme highlighted the difficulties Charlie Lewis’ family have in getting support for him.
Jordan and Ashley said: “We are doing everything we can to give Charlie a life that other children take for granted. But we feel like we are on our own, surviving with no support. We are not asking for much, just a little bit of help. That’s why we are supporting the Disabled Children’s Partnership campaign calling for more money to be allocated to disabled children’s services.”
Richard Kramer added: “Families with disabled children are often hidden away from public view and struggling under the pressure of providing round the clock care, 365 days a year.
“When families reach crisis point, they are forced to use unplanned, emergency services which are hugely expensive to the taxpayer. It makes no sense to deny families of disabled children the services they need – doing so means storing up even bigger problems for the future.”
The Disabled Children’s Partnership is a major coalition of more than 60 organisations campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children: www.disabledchildrenspartnership.org.uk
The economic research was carried out by Development Economics.
Panorama: Fighting for My Child, will be broadcast on BBC 1, Monday 16 July at 8:30pm