Clegg says disabled children will be task force priority


The deputy prime minister has promised that supporting disabled children and their families will be one of the priorities of a new cross-government task force on childhood and families.

In a speech at an event organised by the charity Barnardo’s in London, Nick Clegg said the task force would be led by the prime minister, David Cameron, and would include senior ministers from across the government.

The group will aim to “identify and prioritise” a small number of policies that would make “the biggest difference to children and families”.

Clegg said the task force would “look at how we can provide greater support to disabled children”, although the policies he mentioned focused on services for parents of disabled children.

He said the government had already announced it would use direct payments for carers and “better community-based care” to give families “more support”, and invest an extra £20 million a year in respite care with money saved by ending the government’s contribution to child trust funds.

Clegg said: “While our towering deficit means we can no longer afford these payments across the board…it is right that we make special provision for children with disabilities. For them and their families, respite care can be a lifeline.”

But he failed to mention issues such as inclusion for disabled children in mainstream services, discrimination, bullying and the need for accessible leisure activities.

17 June 2010

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