Shadow Children’s Minister welcomes report calling for greater support for disabled children

Shadow Children’s Minister, Steve McCabe MP is giving his support to the launch of a new report from the Every Disabled Child Matters coalition (EDCM) called ‘Right from the Start’. It seeks to encourage the next government to consider the needs of disabled children, young people and their families ‘right from the start’ by developing a new cross-departmental strategy.

The report which was co-produced by disabled children, young people and their families stresses some of the key problems experienced by families with disabled children including: poverty, cuts to DSA, accessing benefits, especially the new Personal Independence Payments and the problems experienced by parents in obtaining work and affordable childcare. Only 3% of mothers of disabled children work full time and 4 in 10 disabled children are living in poverty.

During the launch Steve had an opportunity to meet with campaigner, Lesley whose daughter Ruby was born with CHARGE syndrome and is multi-sensory impaired, Ruby attends a specialist school for deaf children which involves an hour’s journey to and from school each day. Lesley said she’d had to give up work to help Ruby get to and from school but she had willingly made the sacrifice despite the financial consequences because Ruby’s place at the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children was the right placement for her. After only a few months at the school she was already learning to sign which was making a vast difference to her ability to communicate and participate with others.

Lesley and Ruby were helped in finding the right school by SENSE, one of the coalition partners who are scheduled to build a new multi-million pound headquarter in Selly Oak later this year.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“I recognise the growing challenges facing disabled children and their families in my constituency, especially in the wake of cuts to local services which many rely on. In my capacity as Shadow Children and Families Minister I welcome EDCM’s calls for a broader cross departmental strategy for ensuring the needs of these families are better met. A Labour government will involve families in plans to improve the implementation of the Children and Families Act and earlier this week I took part in a cross departmental meeting with my shadow colleagues and representatives of the Ambitious about Autism charity. We are determined to do things differently.

“I also believe it is vital that parent carers wishing to work have access to suitable child care options and flexible employment, which is why I support the work of schemes such as Parks for Play and Dens of Equality here in Selly Oak.”

To view the report please visit: http://www.edcm.org.uk/

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