Families of disabled children ‘abandoned’ during lockdowns when they most needed help

Families of disabled children felt “abandoned” during Covid lockdowns when they most needed support, MSPs have been told.

Various services supporting children and their families were stopped during the pandemic in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

But Susie Fitton, the policy manager of Inclusion Scotland, said this strategy took a toll on families dealing with children with additional needs.

Ms Fitton told Holyrood’s Health Committee that particular fault was found with services delivered by local authorities.

She said: “Services that families were previously reliant on, services that were accessed either via the school or via respite provision, families reported to us that they felt abandoned by statutory services, particularly by local authority provision at a time when they most needed support.

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“That feeling of abandonment hasn’t abated for some families even though services in some cases have been re-instated.

“That feeling that emergency planning did not cater for the needs of families with disabled children and young people has left people very fearful for the future, particularly if we have to go into lockdown at another period.”

Ms Fitton also said the strain experienced by local authorities in delivering social care services during the pandemic, which left some families without the support they need, “exacerbated mental strain for families”.

She went on to claim that strain “has made either pre-existing or pandemic-related mental health issues worse for disabled children and young people”.

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