Response to the government’s proposal to introduce SEN budgets
Release Date: 15 May 2012
Source: Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
Country: United Kingdom
Christine Burke, Senior Development Manager at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities responds to the government’s proposal to have special needs budgets controlled by parents:
“We welcome the news that the Government intends to push ahead with proposals for parents to have a personal budget for their children. Personal budgets can be extremely beneficial as they put the needs of the child and their family at the centre of their health, social care and educational needs. They provide individuals with greater control over their lives, allow them to get better support and inclusive lifestyles. We agree that for too long too many families have had to “battle” a complex system that doesn’t always put the child’s needs first.
We do however know that changing the system will be difficult and will require a real commitment and concerted effort from all the services involved. Joint working between education, children's services, health and social care services (and subsequently adult services) does not always work well. These changes will require a new and radical approach if we are to make sure that this situation changes and offer real support to families and young people to be able to use their budget positively.
The systems will have to change their way of working from one of wanting to control what and where children belong, to one that is flexible, puts the child's needs and their family first, and works in partnership with families and children. In this way the support will be in place to better support families to plan and ensure that their child's interests are at the centre of planning. Working in partnership with families and children for some services will be a challenge. This should be identified early on and actions taken to ensure the right supports are in place in finding good local services that can support families and young people to have a good life in the community.
We need to see a support system in place that helps families to understand personal budgets, to support them in planning and managing that budget effectively and to understand what it is possible for their son or daughter to purchase with personal budgets. Personal budgets for adults have been on the agenda for years, yet we continue to see problems in their widespread adoption. We need to see a greater urgency if thousands of children are to have the meaningful lives in the community they deserve.”