What do Parent Carers need from the Government to help with employment?
Today, we want to look at what parent carers told us they needed from the future Government to help them find or stay in employment.
What do we need from the Government?
- Cutting hours to , say, 24 per week, or term-time only working etc, ought to be a legal right that they can’t refuse for SEND parents, particularly where the child is severely disabled
- Stronger rights for parent carers, to bring in line with carers of those over 18, including the right to work. Short breaks regulations should be amended to support parent carers to work.
- To make it easier and more ethical to employ parents in good jobs but with flexible hours.
- more support with flexible working hours
- Employers should be incentivised to provide flexible working … creating good conditions will encourage long term staff retention.
- Employers who are understanding to the needs of parent carers and are incentivised to take them on
- they need to raise the limit on how much we can earn before claiming carers allowance
- To listen to the overwhelmingly similar experiences of carers everywhere and incentivise employers to make work/life balance more achievable.
- Ensure schools and Local Authorities adhere to legislation – don’t leave that down to the parents.
This was mentioned time and time again, both in our survey and in our web chats.
So many parent carers were angry at how much time they spent having to ensure the school or LA did what they are supposed to do. Spending hours on soul -destroying and spirit-crushing battles. What happened to co-production and working together?
So many parent carers were angry that they found it necessary to take courses on SEND legislation, time they would much rather be spending with their children.
So many parent carers were angry that the complaints system was long winded, confusing and not easy to navigate. They felt it was designed to put parents off.
We asked if parent carers could request just one thing of the new Government, what would it be? The majority said this. The Government to ensure that schools and Local Authorities are held accountable, comply with legislation, time lines, their duty of care, etc in a timely fashion (not an end of year review) and let the parents spend that additional time to be mum or dad.
The impact this has on a parent carer’s mental health and the consequential impact on our children’s emotional health and well-being is huge.
- Clear guidance for local authorities on their childcare sufficiency duties and sharing best practice.
- Respite services, carers respite budget. Services are being cut or shut down so there is no where to go to help for funding to provide it.
- Support for someone else who can lol after our autistic kids beyond family
- Available childcare for children with disabilities
- There needs to be affordable SEN child care for all ages, a lot of child care stops at age 11 and there are little or no other options especially for single parents
- Better childcare and financial support
- When the kids were small the cost of preschool childcare was crippling.. we had 3 preschoolers and one school aged for a couple of years. Working has been great for my mental health… if my kids had had complex health needs I would have struggled to stay in work but leaving would have been at difficult financially and mentally.
- Childcare to be made available for sen children at an affordable cost with the correct support in place
- More funding to help in holidays. We qualifybfor short breaks but it equates to 1 week a yeaf to help with holidays as places are limited to meet need.
- better holiday provision of holiday clubs for children with complex needs. Our son is medically healthy but has severe physical and learning disabilities. Most clubs aren’t available to him as there are stairs or no changing facilities or it’s just totally inappropriate. He can’t do football club for example;) I know it’s expensive but it isn’t impossible.
- Please accept nannies Cost as childcare cost and help us with it as you do with registered ones . That is because the registered ones are not accepting my son
- A right to free or subsidised qualified one to one child care….. childminders are not suitable for my child. She needs one to one care.
- Help with decent childcare of my choice, I can’t find a registered nanny so pay a private one. I get no help towards this.
- Increase the threshold of Carers Allowance to enable Carers to work more hours/earn more without losing the benefit.
- Recognition in economic terms of the added value that families bring to a disabled persons life, and a reduction in complexity/bureaucracy – juggling a job with caring is not likely to prolong my life!
- When a diagnosis is reached an allowance like child benefit without so many forms to fill in.
- Amend the guidance on home to school transport to ensure local authorities provide flexibility for school buses to collect/drop off children from child care settings as well as the registered home address.
- After school clubs for older children
- Help with transport when daughter won’t do taxis or buses
- A better funded education system that we can rely on.
- Schools that can cope with non-compliant autistic children
- More consideration of the effort and time for parents to get a Dx and and EHCP, and the impact this has on working parents’ ability to stay in full-time work. There has to be a simpler way for parents to get all of the assessments completed e.g. assessment days where you go to one place and all the professionals assess your child, then discuss their findings together to determine Dx. This would be much more effective that months of different appointments and reports, which the parent then needs to share with each professional.
- Less paperwork to fill in in order to keep on top of my son’s health, social care, education and benefit needs
- Stop taking things away
- A complete overhaul for the support of parents with disabled/SEN needs as what is in place is insufficient
- Genuine and meaningful support from the LA.
- funding and understanding from social services, education and health instead of me fighting all the time for years to get the services I need for my child.
- Better understanding and support across education and social care
A Final Request:
We need the next Government (and the one after that and the one after that) to support in every way possible, changes within all of society, led by disabled people first, and their families and other allies.
Over to you
These were the comments from our web chats and surveys but maybe you didn’t hear of them or were unable to join in. Is there something missing from our list? Something you need from our Government to help you to find and then stay in employment? Comment below. We are ensuring that these results reach every possible party member before June. Let them know what will help them to gain your vote.
Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN.
Transplanted from the NW to the SE.
Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together