£340 million package for disabled children

Funding boost for disabled children

Funding boost for disabled children

The government has announced a £340 million package to improve the quality of life of families with disabled children.

Funds will be delivered over three years and will develop accessible childcare, provide 40,000 short breaks for young people and help families deal with the specific needs of teenage disabled children.

Announcing the package, economic secretary Ed Balls said: “Today we announce a set of actions that will make a real difference to all disabled children and their families, with £340 million over the next three years to improve vital services that will enhance their lives, underpinned by reform to make disabled children a national priority.”

Campaigners have welcomed the news as a “huge step forward”.

Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, children’s commissioner for England, said the money would benefit a large number of people in the UK, but should be seen as “a down payment” on future projects.

He said: “There is still much to be done, not least because children and young people with disabilities and their families have had to struggle for far too long to ensure that their children receive the services and the support that they need.”

Mencap chief executive Dame Jo Williams, who is also a board member of the umbrella group Every Disabled Child Matters, said: “Currently, only one in 13 families get any form of specialist support in caring for their disabled child.

“This announcement means that by 2011, many more families will be getting the support they need. This is a huge step forward, but it also needs to be seen as a down payment on the longer-term change required.”

There are an estimated 700,000 disabled children and carers across the UK.