Parents report decline in quality of disabled children’s services New evidence from the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), a major coalition of more than 60 organisations, of which Family Fund is a member, found parent/carers’ confidence in the quality of disabled children’s health and social care services to be at an all-time low. The majority (75%) of the 1,500 of parent/carers surveyed by DCP said that the quality of health services to support their children had grown significantly worse in the past few years. An example of this is thenumber of disabled children receiving social care has reduced, despite the number of disabled children registered in the UK increasing by 33% over the past 10 years. Michelle Bennett from Liverpool, whose seven-year-old son has autism, said: “Services here are pretty dire. Social care is pretty much non-existent except for the most severely disabled children. I've never met a disabled children’s social worker, neither have any of the mums in the parent-run support groups I go to. I've been on a waiting list to see the continence team for over a year, still no sign of an appointment. We've been on the short breaks waiting list since he was three-years-old and are yet to receive support. Carers assessments for parents of disabled children don't seem to exist here either.” The research also found: 64% felt that the quality of social care was in a similar decline. Nearly half (45%) said that they were aware of imminent plans to reduce social and health care services for families with disabled children in their local area. The consequences of this are: Disabled children are waiting too long for support, affecting their health and progress. Families are forced to fundraise for vital equipment or treatments that are underprovided by the bodies who have a statutory obligation to do so. Families are fighting through the courts for services, which they desperately need. Stephen Kingdom, Campaign Manager at DCP, said: “Disabled children’s services are under intense pressure as cuts to local authority and health budgets continue to chip away at vital services. Not surprisingly, this is having an impact on the quality of services disabled children receive. “What is certain is that a lack of quality services can hamper a disabled child’s development and progress. That’s why we are calling on central government to provide ministerial leadership for disabled children and provide dedicated funding for disabled children’s services.” Read the full report from Disabled Children’s Partnership, and other ongoing campaigns on their website.