Funding for Family Fund’s work in England has been confirmed for 2016-17 as part of an £80 million pound package to help improve opportunities for thousands of children with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson today confirmed that funding would be maintained at the existing level of £27.3 million. The package also announced increased funding for councils and support for charities who work with disabled young people across the country. Alongside this, the government is continuing transition funding in 2017 to 2018 to help implement the SEND reforms introduced in 2014.

The Minister said “Our vision for children with special educational needs and disability is simple: that their aspirations are as high any other young person, that they dream big, achieve well at school and college, and lead fulfilling, happy lives.”

“We’ve made fundamental changes to the law to provide that support and the work I’ve seen so far, putting families at the heart of the process, is inspiring - but we know there is still more to do to.”

“I’m delighted that today we can announce that we are committing more money to councils than last year, helping to make the transition for families accessing support as smooth as possible.”

As well as Family Fund, the package announced today includes:

  • £35.8 million in implementation funding for local authorities in 2016 to 2017, recognising the additional duties placed on them as a result of the transition to Education, Health and Care plans - an increase of £4 million on last year.
  • £15 million to fund the independent supporters programme in 2016 to 2017, run by the Council for Disabled Children. This programme helps to support families and young people to navigate the system, and creates more positive experiences for them.
  • £2.3 million for Parent Carer Forums in 2016 to 2017, who bring parents together to provide invaluable support and advice for families.

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said:

“We are grateful to the Department for Education for their continuing commitment to funding this vital support for families raising disabled or seriously ill children.”

“Last year, this funding helped 54,225 families through support that was tailored to their circumstances - the highest number in our 43-year history. We are committed to make our funding go as far as possible in the coming year, relieving some of the challenges our families face on a day to day basis.”

Christine Lenehan OBE, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:

“We welcome the government’s continued investment in the SEND reforms, which is evidence of its commitment to fully embedding the new system.”

“These four grants demonstrate the partnerships required to deliver the new reforms and generate the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families.”

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