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Families with disabled children ‘at breaking point’ – Scope

Families with disabled children are not receiving the support or services they need in their local area, according to a report by the charity Scope.

The report details a chronic shortage of local childcare, nursery places, appropriate schools and essential therapies and healthcare.

Figures from Scope, Sense, 4Children and the Family and Parenting Institute reveal that 62% of families with disabled children do not have access to support and services, with 51% of these reporting it affects their ability to work.

The report is released as the Government prepares the reform of the Children and Families Bill. The draft bill was published in September.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We’re changing the system so they get this help as quickly as possible, and we've already started to test new arrangements in 31 local authorities well before they come into force in 2014.”

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said: “The Government has a once-in-a generation opportunity to end the daily struggle parents of disabled children face. More than 500,000 families have a disabled child. Life is tough for all families at the moment but the pressures and struggles placed on families with disabled children are pushing them to breaking point.”

Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, said: “Families continue to act as the shock absorbers to rises in prices, frozen wages, and cuts in spending and on children's services. There is only so much families can take and future cuts will make it even tougher to ensure fair access to services.

“The Children and Families Bill presents a huge opportunity for the government to realise its ambition of a family friendly UK but the Government needs to be bolder in its commitment to families if the Bill is to make a difference to struggling families.”

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