Disabled child poverty statistics highlight need for parental relationship support

07 October 2011

One Plus One supports calls for effective relationship support provision for the parents of disabled children, following the release of new statistics that highlight the number of disabled children living in poverty in the UK.

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New figures from the Children’s society show that 320,000 of the 800,000 (4 in 10) disabled children in the UK are living in poverty, with 110,000 of those children experiencing “severe” poverty.

Financial pressures on the parents of disabled children are high and many families find only one parent can work due to a lack of suitable childcare. These pressures can result in huge stress on relationships, with parent's  facing a lack of time together as well as experiencing social exclusion.

Research shows that half of parents caring for a child with a disability believe it has caused difficulties in, or the breakdown of, their relationship. And with evidence to show that disabled children who witness a strained relationship between parents demonstrate poorer health and behaviour, it is imperative that the professionals who support these families have the skills and confidence to recognise and work with relationship issues.

Penny Mansfield, Director of One Plus One, commented:

“One Plus One’s literature review – Growing Together, or Drifting Apart? Children with disabilities and their parents – shows how important giving parents time off from caring responsibilities can be in reducing pressures on them. When parents cannot manage these pressures, or lack support in dealing with them, their relationship deteriorates and may break down, with adverse effects on their children. Respite care and access to relationship support for parents, are key ways in which to improve the chances of disabled children.”

Practitioners working with the families of disabled children can receive a free copy of Growing Together, or Drifting Apart? Children with disabilities and their parents and the information booklet Relationships and caring for a disabled child, produced with Contact a Family, by emailing info@oneplusone.org.uk.

For further information contact:
Martiena van der Meer, Media and Communications Officer