Last month, there was a very important cross-party debate in the Commons about the crisis in children’s social care in England – discussing rising thresholds; cuts to local authority early support services; reductions in social care packages for disabled children; the rising numbers of children being taken into care; and the postcode lottery of spending on children’s social care.
I applaud the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Children and their dogged attempts to keep this issue in the spotlight and bring this to the attention of government ministers.
The Government isn’t recognising that there is as a national emergency in social care funding, despite widespread charities, academics, parent groups and the Local Government Association saying there is.
So, during these times of austerity and Brexit, should we simply back off, do nothing and sympathise with the local authorities who are struggling to provide vital local services to deaf children, including education and social care?
Yes and no.
Yes, we do indeed sympathise with position local authorities are in – many of whom say they are simply unable to provide the statutory services they once did but are still are under a legal obligation to provide.
No, because we shouldn’t simply accept this. The law hasn’t changed, the additional support we know deaf children and young people receive hasn’t changed, and many deaf children still fall behind their hearing peers.
From my colleagues in our Policy and Campaigns team to our network of parent and deaf campaigners, our Children and Family Officers, our Helpline team and our Appeals and Disputes advisors – we all work to professionally challenge wherever services are failing in their legal duties to meet the needs of deaf children and young people. The National Deaf Children’s Society is indeed a team effort.
This includes supporting professionals working directly with deaf children. The National Deaf Children’s Society has a free social care advisory service that any professional can call for advice and support.
In these difficult times, we must not be afraid to challenge the issues when necessary but we must equally remain hopeful for this current and future generations of deaf children and young people and their families.