Ministers Make Disabled Children A Priority In Wales

Welsh Assembly Government Ministers have reaffirmed their commitment to improving services and provision for disabled young people in Wales by announcing a new funding package of support worth £2.75m.

The £2.75m includes money to raise awareness of benefit entitlement, provide more play opportunities for disabled children and offer short break services for children with complex disabilities.

Children’s Minister Jane Hutt said: “The welfare and rights of disabled young people are our priority and we are working to improve the life chances of all disabled young people in Wales.

Speaking at the WLGA annual conference in Llandudno Social Justice Minister Dr Brian Gibbons said he would make an extra £500,000 available over two years to raise awareness of benefits that parents and carers of children with disabilities are entitled to.”

Dr Gibbons said: “Families with disabled children face a real risk of poverty due to having to buy specialist support or equipment or because they struggle to earn a full-time wage due to their caring commitments. To compound the problem many parents miss out on benefits and tax credits which can mitigate the greatest poverty risk.

As a government we are aware of the additional financial difficulties facing parents with disabled children and we want to ensure that all families are claiming the benefits and tax credits available to them. We want to make a difference to those families living in, or at the margins of poverty. I hope the funding I am announcing today will help raise awareness of what is out there and what can be claimed so that it can make a real difference in young people’s lives.

The Assembly Government understands the importance of play in a child’s life and that is why it is a key component of the ground-breaking Foundation Phase in Wales. Every child has the right to play, however some disabled young people face barriers to accessing play facilities and provision.”

Children’s Minister Jane Hutt said: “Nothing should come between a child and their play. With this in mind I am making £250,000 available for each of the next three years to help local authorities provide play opportunities for disabled children. I will also be expecting local authorities to set aside a minimum of £250,000 from already allocated resources for this purpose to create a fund of £500,000.

Additional funding of £1.5m is also being made available by the Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas to fund short break services for children with complex disabilities.”

Gwenda Thomas said: “Speaking to disabled children and their parents and carers, it is clear that short breaks are very important to them. They give young disabled children something to look forward to, and an opportunity to mix with other children and young people.”

Jane Hutt concluded:”We have made a substantial commitment to improving services for disabled children and young people in Wales and we are working closely with the Disabled Children Matter Wales (DCMW) campaign to make a real difference.

We want to transform lives and provide the opportunity for everyone, irrespective of background, wealth, language or health to participate fully in all aspects of society as confident and complete citizens.”

Since the establishment of the Ministerial Task Group last year the Assembly Government has made substantial investments in the futures of disabled young people in Wales.