Children with special needs are being ‘let down by a system that is meant to support them’

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CHILDREN with special needs are being let down by a system which is meant to support them, a watchdog says.

Their families routinely face delays of more than a year as they are forced to battle for the help their children are entitled to, according to ombudsman Michael King.

Children with special needs are being let down by a system that is meant to support them, ombudsman Michael King has said

Complaints are soaring, as councils let cases drift needlessly, shift responsibilities on to parents or fail to liaise properly with doctors and social services, he reports.

Mr King accused councils of “putting up additional barriers to services in efforts to ration scarce resources”.

He added: “With inevitable delays, frustration and distress, we often see parents having to fight the system that was established to support them.”

His report focuses on applications for education, health and care plans, which set out the support a child with special needs can expect.

Numbers of pupils with EHCs rose by 11 per cent to 354,000 last year.

‘PUTTING UP BARRIERS’

But Mr King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said complaints about the process rose by 45 per cent in the past two years.

Last year, nearly nine in ten of the complaints were upheld, compared with just six in ten for other issues.

Mr King said: “It is not uncommon to hear the process described as a battleground.

“Always on the receiving end of these problems are children missing out on the support to which they are entitled, and families left to pick up the pieces.”

Council leaders backed the report, saying it confirmed their fear that they were struggling to meet their statutory duties for children with special needs.


The report adds weight to The Sun’s Give It Back campaign to help parents with disabled children.

We are calling for £434million of cuts in funding for services to be reversed. Last month, the Government announced a review of special needs services.

It has also promised an extra £700million next year for pupils with the most complex needs. Visit thesun.co.uk/olliesletter to sign your support.

King claims that families routinely face delays of more than a year as they are forced to battle for the help their children are entitled to (stock picture)
Getty – Contributor

GIVE IT BACK

Why we demand the Government helps families with disabled kids:

Disabled children and their families are desperately struggling because of a lack of support.

We want the Government to reinstate the £434m of funding it has cut from early intervention services – such as respite care and vital equipment.

It is time for the Government to Give It Back.

The number of disabled children in the UK has risen to nearly 1 million over the past 10 years – up by a third.

But funding and support has been cut.

Families with some of the most vulnerable children in the country are struggling to cope.

That’s why we’re working with the Disabled Children’s Partnership to help them.

Together we can make a real difference and hugely improve the lives of disabled children and their families.

We want you to share your stories, email us on giveitback@the-sun.co.uk

Please sign Ollie’s letter to put pressure on the Government to act now.


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