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Plans to boost child disability services

PLANS to improve life for many of the children and their families in Swansea who are impacted by disability are going before the council's cabinet this month.


During the last year the council has been looking at the services it provides and has asked young people, their parents and carers for their views on how they can better meet their needs.

Now cabinet members are being asked to approve changes that aim to provide children and young people with additional needs and disabilities better opportunities for play provision, home care and other support. The plan also gives parents a stronger voice in decision-making.

Key changes being proposed include establishing a parent carer forum to ensure that they have an input into future planning and that resources are targeted at services that are well used and valued. It would help look at developing a voucher scheme that would allow families greater choice and control over the play and leisure opportunities they access.

The report, which goes before cabinet on November 16, also recommends creating a dedicated Early Help Team to support families, along with the expansion of the Home Support Team to meet the needs of the relatively small number of children with very complex needs who need this support.

The council will look at options in the third and private sectors for organisations to provide overnight residential breaks.

There would also be extra support for young people who are carers.

Cllr Mark Child, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Earlier this year we carried out extensive consultation on our plans to ensure our child disability services meet people's needs and that the right support is delivered at the right time and in the right place.

"We need to make sure we tackle shortages in early help and improve what's on offer overall to prevent crisis happening.

"We also recognise that children with disabilities, just like all other children, want to be able to play, socialise and have fun. We want to enable them to do just that and give young people the best possible start in life."

Around six per cent of children and young people in Swansea have a disability or impairment that limits their day-to-day activities.  

They and their families are potentially vulnerable, have complex needs and are at higher risk of social isolation and economic disadvantage.  

The review into child disability is part of Swansea Council's Sustainable Swansea Fit for the Future programme which aims to modernise the council to provide the services residents of all ages need not just today, but in the future too.

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