Charities respond as #Coronavirus Bill could affect 1.3 million disabled children
- Charities supporting disabled children call for guarantees on education support for disabled children.
- Coronavirus Bill suspends vital legal rights for disabled children in England.
- Campaigners accept that temporary measures are needed, but seek reassurances on how all disabled children will be supported.
Charities are calling on MPs to clarify how disabled children will be supported over the coming months as Parliament debates the Coronavirus Bill today.
The Bill looks to introduce major changes to provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which despite being temporary will have significant and immediate effects on their care and support.
The changes include removing the obligation on local councils to deliver what is in a child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), a document which outlines and legally guarantees an individual’s care and support.
Almost 300,000 children currently have an EHCP who will remain in need of support. Whilst schools are expected to remain open for vulnerable children and children with EHCPs, there is still considerable uncertainty over how they will be supported.
Campaigners including the Disabled Children’s Partnership and the National Deaf Children’s Society have been quick to speak out, asking for confirmation on how disabled children will continue to receive the specialist support they need.
They have also raised concerns about support for the remaining one million disabled children who don’t currently have an EHCP, asking for guidance on what provisions will be made and whether they will still be protected by the Equality Act.
Ian Noon, Chief Policy Advisor at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:
“These are very difficult times and we know that professionals are working exceptionally hard to make sure disabled children get the support they need.
“Disabled children absolutely rely on the support they get. Clarity from the Government on what these changes will mean in practice and how disabled children will still, as much as possible, get what they need will be hugely helpful.
“With reassurance that the Equality Act remains in place and more detail on how every disabled child will be supported once the Bill is passed, the Government can make sure more than a million families sleep a bit easier tonight as they plan for their child’s future in these challenging times.”
Stephen Kingdom, Campaign Manager of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, said:
“We understand that in this unprecedented situation, the government needs to take emergency action. However, it is vital that all disabled children and their families continue to receive the support they need both in school and in their homes.
“Over a million families will be affected by these decisions and many will be feeling very uncertain about what will happen to their child’s support.
“We are calling on the Government to put their minds at rest by ensuring that every disabled child is provided for.”Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in