Children and families

Make sure disabled children get the best start in life.

Mum and Dad play with child at home

We’ve made a lot of progress but more needs to be done.

More than half a million UK families face a daily challenge to get support for their disabled child. The current lack of local services and respite care makes it much harder than it needs to be. More than six in ten parents can't get the services they need in their local area and are fighting long, tough battles to find them elsewhere.

Schools and services must be accessible and inclusive for disabled children.

Parents need access to respite care and other support. But because of a lack of local support, too often parents are forced to travel long distances to find what they need or send their child to live away from home. One dad told us, "My wife has been driving over 100 miles a day just to get our daughter to school."

Not having the support they need near home takes a huge toll. Almost all parents of disabled children suffer anxiety and stress. Half miss out on the family time many of us take for granted, like celebrating birthdays and simply playing together. It’s also hard for parents to hold down jobs and so they struggle financially too.

Scope has been running the Keep Us Close campaign to get changes in the Government’s new Children and Families Bill to improve support for families. Now we need to make sure councils make the changes that are needed.

Grace says:

Women playing in park with her son

“At times, I was driving almost 400 miles a week just to get my kids to school and therapy. That meant up to four hours in the car a day. I had no life at all.

I’m exhausted; and my children are missing out on quality family time. I think it’s about time the public sector invested in providing good-quality local services for everyone, especially disabled children.”

Grace, London

What can I do?