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Parents struggle to find childcare for children with learning disabilities during holidays, survey reports

A survey from Mencap, which reviewed 316 parents, found that 56% are struggling to access short breaks due to the lack of childcare available to them.
Mencap said that parents of children with learning disabilities are being pushed “to breaking point” by the lack of support during the holiday period, calling the provision “insufficient” and “inflexible” in many council areas.
“For many parents of children with a learning disability this means nonstop care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Having accessible and suitable childcare on offer can be a lifeline for many families,” said Jan Tregelles, chief executive at Mencap.
“It is unacceptable that, despite obligations, yet again local authorities are still not doing enough to help families who are being pushed into moments of crisis. This needs to change.”
A DfE spokeswoman said that the department is doing “more than ever before” to support families with childcare, noting its proposed £6 billion investment in the sector by the end of this parliament, and the introduction of the 30-hours scheme.
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said he shared the concerns Mencap raises.
“Many childcare providers do not receive the support – both financial and practical – needed to deliver the one-to-one quality care that children with additional needs require, leaving families struggling to access suitable care both during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year,” he said.
“Current government proposals to increase the funding available to support children with special educational needs and disabilities are undoubtedly positive, but these must be part of a comprehensive, co-ordinated system of reforms across the whole care and education system if they are going to have a real impact on those children and families most in need.”