Law Commission launch review into laws on social care for disabled children

On Tuesday 17th October the Law Commission launched a review into laws on social care for disabled children. Currently, the law on children’s social care in England is governed by a patchwork of legislation, some of which dates back more than 50 years. This has contributed to variations in the amount and quality of support provided by local authorities and made routes to accessing support complicated for disabled children, young people and their families.

The Law Commission project was recommended in the 2022 Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, which heard from families of disabled children who struggled to understand what support they were entitled to and how to access it. The project will play a role in the Government’s ongoing programme for the reform of children’s social care and the system for supporting disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs.

The Law Commission will look at the law and policy on social care for disabled children in England, including section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

What does this mean for children and young people and their families?

  • The Law Commission aims to simplify and strengthen the law, allowing disabled children to access the support they need. 
  • The review will ensure the law is fair, modern and accessible and works for parent carers as well as local authorities.
  • The review will focus on the provision of support and services in family-based care.  

What are the objectives of the review?

The objectives of the review, commissioned by the Department for Education are to:

  • Recommend a solution to the patchwork of legislation that currently governs social care for disabled children. 
  •  Improve how the law on social care for disabled children fits in with the law relating to social care more broadly. 
  • Review the outdated language and definitions underpinning the law on social care for disabled children. 

It is good to see that the government has taken action to review legislation to strengthen the law on social care for disabled children. It is vital that changes are made to ensure families can access social care support through a less complex and more navigable system.

Amanda Allard, Director at The Council for Disabled Children

The Law Commission has started preliminary work on this project, with the aim of publishing a consultation in Spring 2024.

To find out more please visit the project page on the Law Commission website below.