In January of this year, the Director of the Council for Disabled Children, Dame Christine Lenehan, released 'These Are Our Children', a Review for the Department of Health (DH) into the treatment of children with significant needs. The Review called for urgent action at a national level to prevent children with complex needs being institutionalised at an early age, at huge cost to the taxpayer and with low ambitions for improving their lives.
Today, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care and Mental Health at DH, has released her Ministerial Response to the Review. In a letter to Dame Christine, which you can find below, she concedes that the Review 'makes for hard reading in places', and states that 'subject to detailed consideration of the practicalities and costs, I agree with all your recommendations.' Pursuant of this, Ms Doyle-Price '[intends] to write to the chief organisations for whom actions have been identified, to draw their attention to your recommendations and encourage close working to deliver them. [She] would also suggest that in early 2018, we undertake a review of progress made.'
At the time of the release of the report, Dame Christine said: ‘There’s a well-worn path for this group of disabled children, away from their home communities into long term placements that often act a last resort. Hidden and separated from the rest of society, these children become ‘special cases’, for whom the aspirations we have for other children and young people don’t apply. We urgently need a shift in thinking, so that ‘these’ children are recognised as ‘our’ children, as members of our communities with exactly the same rights to health and education, and family and community life.’
For more on the Review, including a summary of its recommendations, see below. In her letter, the Minister also mentions Dame Christine's second Review, 'Good intentions, good enough?', for the Department for Education, which can also be found below.