This week, three reports (The Children’s Commissioner, CQC and LeDeR) and the Panorama programme have exposed the shocking way in which the system continues to fail to meet the needs of children and young people with learning disabilities and or autism.
Statement from Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children:
We have worked closely with the children’s team at NHS England and across Government and know how committed they, and many local commissioners, are to improving the situation for children and young people. However, to date, this area of work has not had the focus or attention that it deserves from those at the most senior level, despite the fact that supporting children is both morally important and will also reduce the demands on adult services.
There has been a failure both locally and nationally to join the system up and ensure a multi-agency approach. We need to put these children at the heart of the system and think in terms of solutions, not problems. Our children should expect a happy and safe childhood and a system which promotes these rights rather than undermines them. We have to stop the well -trodden path for these young people out of their local community, into specialist residential provision and then onto adult institutional care.
To make the system work, we have to turn it on its head. Put children and those who work with them, front and centre of a bold solution that can start to make care provision exactly that. The money we need to make this change is already in the system, currently funding expensive and sometimes poor and even abusive placements; it must now be spent on support closer to home that builds independence and a fulfilling, happy life for children and young people complex needs.