Welfare to Work

A third of disabled children turned away from holiday childcare

A third of disabled children turned away from holiday childcare

A survey by two charities, Kids and Mencap, has found that childcare costs are so high that they are preventing parents from having a break during holidays.

The survey of 1,192 parents of disabled children from across England, found that two-thirds of families found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to find suitable childcare for their disabled child this summer.

For the year, the cost of childcare for disabled children was found to be dramatically higher than average. 20% of survey respondents said they faced up to £11,700 per year in childcare costs, compared to the national average of £5,028.

The survey found that one in 10 disabled children were refused childcare places because of their impairments.

The ability for parents of disabled children to work, was questioned in the survey. The main finding was that 43% said they were unemployed as a result of the child care being both too expensive and not appropriate for their child.

Kevin Williams, chief executive of Kids, “Caring for disabled children without the right support can have significant consequences for a whole family, not just a disabled child,” he said. “The effect can be profound: disabled children lose out on opportunities to socialise with peers, relationships between parents can become strained or even break, and siblings or other family members may take on additional caring responsibilities.”

Click to read the survey

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


  1. I object to the whole attitude that parents who do not work are slackers. Motherhood is the most important job to society, and stay-at-home mothers should be celebrated, not discriminated against.
    But, yes, all parents need a break sometimes, particularly parents of disabled children, as those children require so much extra care.
    The comments that disabled children need to socialise with peers are also apt. If there are not places where children can go and be accepted they will become isolated, and discrimination against them will increase. School is one good place to meet peers, but school is only for some of the time, and has a limited number of children and offers limited experiences. Non-disabled children often go to summer camps and after-school clubs, and disabled children should not have to miss out on such things.

  2. And the proposals to “reform” Disability Living Allowance will only worsen the situation. A few years ago, my borough carried out a survey around work, childcare and disabled children – a staggering 80% of parents of disabled children were not working. My partner and I are therefore part of the 20% who do both work full time. The DLA (my son gets higher rate care and mobility) enable us to work, as they help cover the significantly higher childcare costs. If his DLA is cut significantly, one of us will probably have to stop working, or go part-time. Our experience is also that access is an issue, particulary for teenagers – there was very little suitable provision for our son this summer, not least because two schemes he used to use have been cut.

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