Scope responds to Children and Families Bill
5 February 2013
In response to the publication of the Children and Families Bill, Scope Chief Executive Richard Hawkes said: “This morning parents of disabled children have been badly let down.
“The Government said its Special Educational Needs (SEN) reform would prevent parents being forced to go from "pillar to post" in a battle between different authorities and agencies.
“But instead the Government risks heaping more pressure onto parents, telling them they will have to fight for every last bit of support. “This was a once in a generation opportunity to reform SEN. The bill is a huge missed opportunity.
“Parents say it’s a battle to get their children support such as childcare or nursery places, appropriate schools, essential therapies or even healthcare in their local area.
“Joint education, health and social care plans could make a real difference by getting agencies to work together. But if the plan doesn’t meet a child’s needs, glaring holes of accountability will make it harder not easier to appeal.
“But the vast majority of disabled children don’t even get a plan. For these children, the Government is asking councils to publish a list of services, and asking parents to provide comments.
“This is simply not good enough. Parents need a guarantee that their children will get the right therapy, nursery or support – not the ‘SEN yellow pages’. That guarantee just won’t be there. Parents want to see services improved. There is no imperative for this to happen.
“The plans put the onus on parents themselves to ensure services are good enough - either through comparing different local authority offers, or by taking individual services to task. Neither of these will remove the battles for support that parents currently face - exactly what this Bill was supposed to rectify.”
Notes to the Editor:
For more information, please contact the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200.
Here is the Government's press release.
Last year Scope conducted a survey of parents of disabled children.
Keep Us Close campaign: Over the past month, Scope supporters have been sharing their fond family memories, in support of its campaign for better support for parents of disabled children. To coincide with the bill being brought to Parliament we will be delivering the 693 memories to MPs, in personalised memory boxes, each containing the family memory from their constituents and in many cases a photo to accompany it.