Councils: Do your duty to parent carers

Parent carers of disabled children have often been treated slightly differently from other carers by health and social care.parent carer This can stem from local authority children’s’ services having responsibility for disabled children meaning adult services, responsible for carers, are often not involved in supporting the family. This can mean parents carers are not identified or receive support as carers.

The Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign has made huge strides in getting recognition for parent carers and local authorities now have a legal duty to consider the needs of parent carers and whether they would benefit from breaks from caring. This new legal duty came into force on 1st April 2011.

Now as everybody knows, 1st April is April Fools’ Day when people are tricked into believing something that is not real. Carers may feel that this happens all year round for them and this new legal duty is just another false promise.

But this new law may have real bite because local authorities must provide a range of services including:

  • day-time care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • overnight care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes
  • services available to assist carers in the evenings, weekends and during the school holidays

If your local authority is not providing any of these, then they are breaking the law. However, a few parent carers are saying that their local authority is refusing to assess their disabled child, which makes it harder for carers to get respite. EDCM have published a letter and a guide that parent carers can use to make sure their disabled child is assessed.

The Government are also putting pressure on local authorities by requesting they prepare a statement by 1st October 2011 setting out details of:

  • the range of respite services provided
  • any criteria by which eligibility for those services will be assessed
  • how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of carers in their area.

If you’re a parent carer, ask your council to see their statement and make sure they are doing their duty by you.

Take care and take charge



September 26, 2011 - Posted by | Health, Relationships, Social Care | , ,


  1. The problem Gordon is my young daughter has a milder disability. Although she tried many of the groups she found many geared towards higher disabilities and gave up going. Councils should realise this but they don’t. I never had respite or help because nothing suited her which didn’t help me.

    Comment by Simone | October 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Simone
    I’m sorry to hear about this. I think it’s becoming a more common problem that only those with the most severe disabilities are getting support. Plus, I think there is a long way to go before the rhetoric of services being shaped chosen by those who use them becomes the reality.

    I wish you the best Simone, and for your daughter too.

    Comment by Gordon Conochie | October 6, 2011 | Reply

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