Changing childcare for disabled children

Posted by Guest blogger / Thursday 17 July 2014 / Children in care

Childcare for disabled children needs to change. Nikki Simpson and myself (Sam Beadle) attended the launch of the Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children at the House Of Commons to hear how.

Nikki and I are Childminder Co-ordinators for the Action for Children Childminding project based in our children’s centres. We recruit and support childminders. We travelled from Sandwell, Birmingham and Winchester, Hampshire and met Hannah Dobbin, Policy Manager at Action for Children. Hannah gave us a brief sightseeing tour on our way to the House of Commons. Sadly, we couldn’t resist being tourists and posing for this photo!

The Inquiry received almost 1,200 responses from parent carers and 35 responses from organisations, including Action for Children, and local authorities.
We had the pleasure of talking to Lord Francis Listowel about our work and the challenges facing childminders wishing to care for children with special needs. For example, childminders often rely on income from caring for several children at one time in order to make it financially viable, so you can see the problem of caring for a child with additional needs on a one-to-one basis? Childminders may also have to adapt their setting to accommodate a child’s needs. This can be expensive and difficult to do.

But, we know the benefits can be huge; childminding can offer an inclusive service and care that meets the specific needs of children and their families.
Robert Buckland MP explained that the Inquiry looked at the availability, quality and affordability of childcare for children with disabilities. It also considered how to remove barriers facing these children and their families. Lucy Powell MP and Pat Glass MP also spoke.

We heard two very moving accounts by parents. One mother talked about her need to work because of the additional day-to-day expense involved in caring for a disabled child but she was unable to find suitable childcare as no one was able to offer him the one-to-one support he needed. 

Another mum explained how she was fortunate enough to find a good quality childcare place where her daughter’s key worker taught her to feed herself which has had long-term benefits. 

The issues raised in this Inquiry are crucial to many children and their families as well as the organisations involved with children and childcare.

The findings and recommendations of the Inquiry can be found here. It’s well worth a read.


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