Children with disabilities and special needs missing out on care

1 Jul 2008 09:36 AM Children with disabilities and special needs are missing out on high quality childcare due to a lack of funding for extra staff or suitably trained staff, according to a new report published today by the London Development Agency.

"Listening to providers about childcare for children with disabilities and special educational needs" highlights these particular barriers faced by childcare providers in London. The report was commissioned by the LDA and produced by Daycare Trust following a first report looking at the perspective of parents called "Listening to parents of children with disabilities and special educational needs".

Many childcare providers in London have some experience of dealing with children with a disability or special educational need and many providers identified barriers to adequate provision of childcare for children with additional needs.

The report explores the training and support needs required by London childcare settings in order to improve their capacity to take on children with additional needs. All childcare providers said that they were in theory willing to accept children with disabilities and special needs. But the report also found that many childcare providers - particularly those from private settings - suggested that they didn’t accommodate children with additional needs because the demand wasn’t there. They felt that parents of children with additional needs tended to use other settings, especially those within the maintained sector.

Denise Burke, Head of Childcare and Family Strategy at the LDA, said:

"Childcare providers are willing to provide care for children with additional needs as long as local authorities ensure that there are adequate support mechanisms in place, continuous training for staff and sufficient funding to enable parents to access childcare provision of their choice. I hope the findings of this report highlight the importance of ensuring that quality childcare is accessible to all."

Emma Knights, Daycare Trust joint Chief Executive, said:

"This research highlights the importance of providing the extra staff time, training and funding which is necessary so that every childcare setting can accommodate children with additional needs. We would urge every local authority to ensure this support is in place for childcare providers so that every disabled child has access to high quality childcare."

For further information, contact the LDA media team: Rob Beasley 020 7593 8437. Public inquiries to 020 7593 9000. Out of hours media calls to 07977 439371.

Notes for editors

1. The report was based upon research carried out over a period of three months, from November 2007 to January 2008. It included desk based research, a questionnaire and a series of focus groups and individual interviews. The result is a comprehensive report with extensive quotes that gives a voice to some of the childcare providers throughout London.

2. The London Development Agency is responsible for implementing the Mayor of London’s childcare strategy.

3. Daycare Trust is the national childcare charity which campaigns for quality, accessible and affordable childcare for all.