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Contact a Family are running a campaign this Christmas to ask the Prime Minister to rethink cuts to disabled children’s benefits, you can access the campaign via the CaF website or direct via EDCM.

Contact a Family’s “Strengthening Children’s Centre” project (funded through the National Lottery by the Big Lottery fund) are offering parents with disabled children access to themed workshops in children centres on a range of topics including: benefits; sleep; managing behaviours and stress and coping sessions. These sessions are being offered to help develop understanding and knowledge of the impact that caring for a disabled child can have on the whole family.  For the North West of England and East Midlands, please email Karen, for the South West and South East of England, please email Lisa, for London, please email Julie, and for all other areas please ring the  Helpline on 0808 808 3555.

The Daycare Trust this month published the results of a survey into Family Information Services (FIS) in England and Wales. Key findings from the report included:

  • Over 12% of Family Information Services in England are failing to meet their statutory obligations as outline in the Childcare Act 2006.
  • An estimated 88% of local authorities have cut their budget for family information, and 62% have cut staffing.
  • A growing number of local authorities are merging their FIS into call centres. Generic council call centres do not usually have the expertise to deal with complex calls and many limit the time that an operator can speak to a caller.
  • Where FIS are properly supported they often provide an excellent service.  By investing in high quality childcare brokerage now we can not only ensure families can access the services they need but prevent poverty child poverty in the future.

Daycare Trust is calling for local authorities to ensure they meet their legal duties outlined in the Childcare Act 2006 by resourcing Family Information Services properly, and for Ofsted to develop a more detailed schedule for inspecting Family Information Services when visiting local authorities in England.

New research from Contact a Family shows that social, emotional and financial isolation is causing almost three quarters (72%) of families with disabled children to experience poor mental health such as anxiety, depression or breakdown.  As a result, Contact a Family is calling on local authorities to provide sufficient early intervention services. In addition the charity is urging national government not to go back on its promise to protect vulnerable families and ensure planned welfare reform changes don’t increase the isolation currently being experienced by the UK’s Forgotten Families. Download the report here.

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