Children with disabilities and complex health needs often suffer from significant inequalities in health, employment, education and the wider society. They have poorer health, wellbeing and social outcomes compared to their peers, with accessibility and the specialised nature of their needs being detrimental.
Children with disabilities and complex health needs often face a range of issues that can be unique to the individual and may require tailored specialist services. The objective for Knowsley is to understand these needs and then develop and implement the required services for the individual child to reach his or her potential. To reach their potential to make a positive contribution to society, children and young people with disabilities and their families need effective support from statutory health, education, social care and voluntary services at the appropriate stages of their lives. Current and future financial pressures and new national policies require more integrated, joint approaches to ensure the best use of resources to support the needs of children with disabilities and complex needs.
Without appropriate and effective support, children with disabilities and complex needs are likely to face challenges and disadvantages in life proportionate to those faced by other vulnerable groups. These children are more likely to live in poverty and to suffer mental health conditions, they will miss more school and are more likely to underachieve educationally and not reach their full potential.
Estimating the number of children with disabilities and complex health needs in Knowsley is difficult because different definitions are used and not all are known to services. However, various measures can be used to pull together an overview of the prevalence and level of need. Identifying the scale of the challenge for Knowsley is difficult because each child potentially faces a range of issues that can be unique to the individual and that may require tailored specialist services.
Applying an estimated prevalence rate of 5% (a mid point between estimates provided above), and 1.2% for the most severely disabled, there are around 1,975 children with a disability living in Knowsley, with 474 children having the most severe disabilities.
Many families with children with disabilities require support from social care services, nationally, 13.2% of Children in Need have a disability, in Knowsley the proportion is 15.8%, a total of 181 children at March 2014.
The Full JSNA report is available here: Children with Disabilities and Complex Health Needs