AFTER feeling unsupported by the government, a father with a disabled daughter is spearheading a national campaign to ask the government to install a minister for disabled children.
Dan White from Fareham has teamed up with Scope, a disability equality charity, to lobby the government to appoint a new role to help thousands of families across the country.
His 12-year-old daughter Emily was born with spina bifida, where there is a gap in the spine, and hydrocephalis – water on the brain and the family feel the government has let them down.
Dan, a campaigner and columnist, said: ‘This is incredibly apt in the current negative climate of Personal Independence Payments and Universal Credit. Families are let down from day one with no support for parents of disabled children.
‘Our campaign has just launched across the country and I believe it is imperative this be discussed because there are millions of parents of newborn disabled children who cry out for some early support from those in power.’
These calls on the government are being made in partnership with the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) which is a coalition of 60 organisations, of which Scope is a member, campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families.
Dan, 46, said: ‘I remember from my own experience how incredibly lonely it can be and the parents I speak to agree that a network needs to be set up to point parents in the right direction for things like benefits, charities dedicated to their child’s disability and physiotherapy.
‘I also think disabled children get labelled and that needs to change as well. If all the readers just took two seconds to sign we could begin to initiate change for families nationwide at the point of diagnosis.’
The campaign hopes the appointment of a dedicated minister would lead to improved accountability for how laws and policies affecting disabled children and their families are made.
Another aim includes establishing an early intervention and family resilience fund to help provide emotional support for the whole family during the diagnosis journey such as counselling, advocacy and relationship advice.
To sign the petition visit campaigns.scope.org.uk/page/31644/petition/1