Government announces £37 million to support children with complex needs


Grants of £400 to £500 per family will be awarded to help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services.

As the majority of schools across the UK have been forced to close due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many parents of children with complex needs are struggling to cope.

To help support low-income families with children with special educational needs (SEN), the government has announced £37.3 million of direct support in 2020-21. Of the multi-million-pound settlement for Family Fund, £10 million has already been committed specifically to the unique difficulties presented by the pandemic.

Announced today by Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford, the grants are expected to help more than 75,000 families in England. Grants typically worth £400 to £500 will go towards the cost of vital equipment to make the lives of families with children with complex needs and disabilities easier whilst implementing social distancing measures. This includes computers, special equipment and educational toys.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said:
"Our first priority remains the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. I know that these unprecedented times may put additional pressure on families, particularly those whose children have the most complex needs, and these parents deserve some extra help to look after and educate them at home. From computers and tablets to household items that many of us take for granted, this new funding will directly benefit tens of thousands of families, making sure parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities get the support they need at this difficult time and beyond."

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said:
"Family Fund welcomes this commitment of an additional £10 million in emergency funding. It will make an incredible difference to thousands of families in England during this crisis, providing practical and essential grant support to help improve the quality of life and ease some of the additional daily pressures faced in these difficult times by many disabled children and their families."

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:
"I am delighted that the government has recognised the needs of the most complex children with disabilities at this critical time. Family Fund provides support for some of the poorest families and £37 million will make a real difference to meet the direct challenges they face. Continued support and a refreshed SEND review, as soon as is reasonably practicable, will be needed to keep momentum in this area."

Author: Frances Heaume, Marketing Manager, Tes SEN Show