Local authorities and health authorities in England will have to do more to ensure children and young people with cancer get the care and educational support they need thanks to the Children and Families Act 2014, which gained Royal Assent today.
From September 2014, schools and colleges, local authorities and health services will have to work together to provide joined up education, health and care services for all children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Children and young people with cancer are included in this group, and should therefore benefit from new duties on local areas to:
Review local education and social care services and make sure they are sufficient
Work together to jointly commission education, health and care services
Create a ‘local offer’ which tells children, young people and their families, the education, health and care services which are available to support them.
Lorraine Clifton, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “We warmly welcome the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014. This Act provides new impetus for local service providers to ensure every child or young person with cancer has access to the health and care support they need during and beyond cancer treatment, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with them to achieve this.
“In addition, our research has shown that children and young people’s access to education can be significantly disrupted during and after cancer treatment. We urge the Government to use the implementation of this Act to send a clear message to local areas about the support that children and young people with cancer need to access education while away from school or college, on their return and to address ongoing learning needs.”
It identifies a range of challenges in helping children keep up with their education when off school, as well as re-integrating when they return, according to parents, children, hospital schools and CLIC Sargent’s nurses and social workers.
About childhood cancer
Every day, 10 children and young people in the UK hear the shocking news they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years.
Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. We provide clinical, practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life.