Disabled Children's Partnership

Sense is a member of The Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP), a major coalition of more than 60 organisations campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children.

On Monday 16 July, the DCP published economic research that showed there is a £1.5 billion funding gap for services needed by disabled children. This investment shortfall and its consequences were highlighted on the BBC 1 Panorama programme ‘Fighting for my child’.

Richard Kramer vice-chair of Disabled Children’s Partnership and CEO of Sense, said:

“There are over one million disabled children in the UK, 33% more than a decade ago. Yet we know that fewer disabled children than ever before are currently getting support. Our research shows there is a funding gap in disabled children’s services which means tens of thousands are missing out on vital help that enables them to do things other children take for granted like eat, talk, leave the house, have fun and attend school.

“Panorama highlighted the consequences of this – families at their wits end having to go to court to fight for vital support and up against a system with limited and dwindling resources. That’s why we are urgently calling on the government to plug the £1.5 billion gap – just 0.2% of total government spending – to ensure disabled children and their families have a decent quality of life.”

DCP’s research carried out by Development Economics, found that there is a £1.1 billion shortfall in funding for health services for disabled children and £433 million extra needed for social care.

A smiling woman holding a baby boy. Next to them, a boy and man stand together.
The Meredith family

Philippa and Antony Meredith from Bristol, who featured in the Panorama programme, are parents to 4 year old Logan. Logan has cerebral palsy and complex needs. The family say they have received “invaluable” support from Sense, but little from the local authority, which is highlighted in the programme.

Philippa Meredith said:

“We are doing everything we can to give Logan a life that other children take for granted. But we often feel like we are on our own, surviving with little support. That’s why we are supporting the Disabled Children’s Partnership campaign calling for more government money to be allocated to disabled children’s services.”

Richard Kramer added:

“Families with disabled children are often hidden away from public view and struggling under the pressure of providing round the clock care, 365 days a year.
“When families reach crisis point, they are forced to use unplanned, emergency services which are hugely expensive to the taxpayer. It makes no sense to deny families of disabled children the services they need – doing so means storing up even bigger problems for the future.”

What we're calling for:

  • We’re urgently calling on the government to plug the £1.5 billion gap – just 0.2% of total government spending – to ensure disabled children and their families have a decent quality of life
  • For the government to make disabled children a priority, and to provide ministerial leadership to ensure a joined up approach to improving outcomes for disabled children and their families.
  • For the government to review current funding of short breaks provision.
  • Clarify the existing rights that children and their families have around accessing health and social care services by co-producing guidance for local authorities and clinical commissioning on their existing legal duties.
  • To improve health and social care services for disabled children by creating an early intervention and family resilience fund.
  • For the government to commission a review of health and social care law, to strengthen and clarify the rights of disabled children and their families. 

What we're doing

Through the ‘Secret Life of Us’ campaign, the DCP is working to shine a light on the challenges that disabled children and the families face, but are often not seen by the rest of the society. 

By raising awareness of these challenges, we can take meaningful steps to improve health and social care services for all disabled children and their families.

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