Parents and their children with disabilities

Family and Government support

A family with a disabled child may need extra support to achieve the way they want to live. If you have a child, or children, with a disability, you may find you are eligible for services under the Children’s Act 1989.

By contacting your doctor, health worker or social services department of your local council, they will discuss and assess the needs of your family. The range of services varies between councils, but they may include short break services, care at home and financial support. In some circumstances, an assessment can be made for a direct payment to parents or carers who are 16 years of age or over.

Childcare and early education

To obtain information about the full range of childcare and early education opportunities available to you, contact your local Children’s Information Service. They may also inform you about services specifically for children with disabilities.

All children, with or without a disability, who are 3 years of age or over, are entitled to a free part-time place in an early years setting, such as a nursery, before they start full-time school.

When seeking childcare, you will have extra issues to consider. Discussing your child’s needs with the childcare provider will lead to an understanding of how they can be managed.

Your child’s rights are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005.

Children with disabilities aged 5 years or under

If your child with a disability is 5 years of age or under, you may be eligible for the Early Support Programme (ESP). The ESP accumulates all the services and support from different agencies, making it easier for families to co-ordinate health, education and social care needs. A key worker is assigned to the family to provide further advice and support with less bureaucracy.