As part of its ongoing research partnership with Pears Foundation, the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) of which I’m a member, surveyed roughly 300 parents in June 2021 in our final survey as part of the series. I had the privilege of being one of those parents. The findings, released today, reveal that whilst the rest of the population has been able to enjoy additional freedoms as pandemic restrictions have eased, disabled children and their families are struggling to heal the pandemic and remain cut off from the rest of society. This blog post shares the report finding and action required to make a difference.
· Three quarters (71%) of disabled children have seen their progress managing their conditions reverse or regress due to the pandemic.
· Disabled children, their parents and their siblings remain more isolated than the rest of the population, with 9 in 10 disabled children socially isolated and 6 in 10 parents isolated.
In addition, the DCP has also released the results from a series of Freedom of Information requests sent to every local authority in England and over 200 health trusts, asking about the waiting times for vital disabled children’s health and care services, such as Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments, physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy (SALT).
· 7 in 10 NHS Trusts are failing to meet their targets for providing services for physiotherapy appointments and over half of local authorities have failed to meet their targets for providing vital Education, Health and Care plan assessments – leaving many disabled children unable to access vital services they need to manage their conditions.
· Our research also revealed that 40% of local authorities have cut respite care for families – despite the prevalence of relationship breakdown and social isolation in parents.
We are using the release of this research to not only press home the urgent need for immediate recovery policies for disabled children, young people and families (the DCP #LeftInLockdown campaign), but also as a hook to revitalise the #GiveItBack messages calling for the pre-pandemic funding gap in disabled children’s health and care services to be filled – in addition to the creation of a Disabled Children’s Innovation Fund.
· We (the DCP) are therefore calling on the Treasury to fund these policies to build a better future for disabled children and families.
· Maureen – an amazing DCP campaigner – has penned an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, sharing her experiences and outlining our campaign calls.
· We are asking members of the public to sign the letter, which we will hand into Downing Street in the autumn. You can sign the letter and share the action on the link below.
A new open letter to the chancellor (https://bit.ly/DCPLetter)
· It would be fantastic to have your help sharing the open letter far and wide, both through your online networks on social media and mailing lists – but also offline with any communities you are involved with.
· There are infographics in the media pack (below) to help you share the open letter.
Here’s the sample DCP template social media posts – open letter and new research July 2021:
Here’s a copy of the DCP campaign briefing:
And finally, here’s a link to the full report: https://disabledchildrenspartnership.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Left-Behind.pdf
COVID-19 has merely shone a light on the existing inequalities that already existed in disabled children’s health and care services. Together we can push the government to create a fairer system of support that means every disabled child can have access to the services they need to manage their condition and development, have a great education, and the best possible start to life.
Thank you for your help.
Mark (DCP Member and parent consulted during the survey)
All content and media © 2021 The Disabled Children’s Partnership
The Longest Lockdown – A Report From The Disabled Children’s Partnership
Lost In Lockdown: Left Behind