One in three parents of disabled children received no holiday childcare during summer 2011, according to a survey conducted by the charities KIDS and Mencap.
Calling the situation a “childcare crisis”, the report’s authors accuse local authorities of failing in their duty to provide childcare, claiming that families with disabled children cannot find appropriate holiday childcare, that they face exorbitant costs for childcare and that they can be victims of discrimination.
The survey, which studied responses from 1,192 parents from across England, reveals that two in three families found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to find appropriate childcare for their disabled child during summer 2011, and one in 10 disabled children were refused a place in childcare provision because of their impairments.
The costs of childcare can also be significantly higher for parents of disabled children, with an estimated 19 per cent of these families facing childcare costs of up to £11,700 per year, compared to the national average of £5,028.
The survey’s findings also support the charities’ claims that parents of disabled children struggle to maintain full employment. While 19 per cent of those surveyed were able to maintain a full-time job while caring for their disabled child, more than 40 per cent said that they need childcare to be able to work. The lack of affordable, appropriate childcare was cited as a major reason that 43 per cent of parents were unemployed.