Health and social services for families of disabled children are in crisis

Recent research found that a quarter of parents with disabled children provide more than 100 hours of care – the equivalent of working three full time jobs simultaneously and without any of the usual benefits like regular or sick pay, holidays or a pension.

Carried out by the charity Contact, the research, Caring More Than Most, presents the most reliable and comprehensive picture of the lives of UK families with disabled children to date. Its findings show that there is a marked and unacceptable difference between the quality of life and opportunities available to disabled children and their families compared to those without disabilities. For example, when compared to non-disabled children, disabled children are:

  • twice as likely to live in a home where there is no parent in paid work (34 per cent compared to 17 per cent)
  • more likely to live in a lone parent household  
  • more likely to live in a household without a car, in a home without central heating and in overcrowded housing.

And at the heart of this is the fact that many parent carers are providing an unimaginable amount of care day in and day out. Providing 100 hours of care a week – which is often emotional, stressful, and physically demanding – leaves very little time for work, social opportunities, or partners. Of course, all parents care for their children, but without access to services and support, the extraordinary levels of care that so many families with disabled children are providing is unsustainable and drives the negative socio-economic trends that are described in this research. Read More….

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