By Richard Dunstan, Policy & Parliamentary Campaigns Officer
New research by Contact a Family shows that mothers of disabled children are locked out of the labour market due to a lack of affordable and good quality childcare.
Based on a survey of 2,056 mothers of a disabled child, the research found:
- 72 per cent say they have cut back or given up work because of childcare problems
- 39 per cent don’t use childcare because it is too expensive
- 82 per cent of those who do use childcare, pay above average (£3.93 per hour) childcare costs, with 31 per cent paying £11-£20 per hour (8 times more towards childcare costs than other families)
- 33 per cent don’t use childcare because staff don’t have the right experience.
Amanda Batten, Chief Executive of Contact a Family, says:
“There is a childcare crisis for families with disabled children, which means many qualified and skilled mums are forced to give up or limit their careers. The government has implemented many policies to help mums get back to work. But our research shows many of the measures don’t help mums of disabled children. The new measures, while welcome, are not designed to tackle the additional costs of childcare for disabled children due to the need for specialised care or the poor disability skills across the childcare workforce.”
Contact a Family is calling for:
- An increase in the upper limit of eligible childcare costs for one disabled child to £300 per week under working tax credit and later under Universal Credit.
- A national disability childcare fund to develop a skilled workforce and increase the supply of childcare places for disabled children/children with SEN.
Jennie, mum to Ben, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, says:
“In order for Jack to be at nursery, he needs 1:1 care. His condition means he cannot move independently at all, feed himself or access toys or activities or play with his many friends without support. Since he started at nursery we have tried three different funding pots to get 1:1 support for him. Now the nursery has to apply every 16 weeks for 1:1 funding. It’s a source of major anxiety, because every 16 weeks I face the fact that I might have to give up work with no notice period. Every 16 weeks, I face the possibility of us losing our home.”
The research findings have been submitted to the Parliamentary Inquiry on childcare for disabled children, launched last month by Robert Buckland MP and Pat Glass MP.