Disabled mothers demand our legal right to family support

Hands holding the Care Act booklet.  Drawing of a wheelchair user mum of colour, she is looking forward and her child stands by her side leaning into her shoulder.

The Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign (DMRC) co-ordinated by WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities) brings together disabled mothers and other disabled women for the right to have a family and keep our children. 

The DMRC, Inclusion London (the London-wide disability equality organisation) and the Support Not Separation coalition, which WinVisible is part of, have jointly written an Open Letter to Ealing Council calling on them to implement the support disabled mothers are entitled to under the Care Act (click here). 

In 2019, Ealing had to pay childcare costs and compensation to a Black single mother who was left without support for her caring work as a mother.  In a breakthrough ruling, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found that Ealing had breached its legal duties under the Care Act, which include “having regard to the needs of the family” of the disabled adult whose care needs they are supposed to meet.

Has Ealing changed its policy and practice since this ruling?  We don’t know.  We got no reply when we twice asked them for figures under Freedom of Information (FOI).

Generally across London, the rights of disabled mothers are not implemented.  When asking for support so they can care for their children, most are put under “child protection”, that is threatened with having their children removed.  This leads to life-long trauma for children and mothers and to our children being taken into “care” — where rape, sexual abuse and other violence and neglect are rife.  Low-income children and children of colour are disproportionately in “care”, and disabled children in care are five times more likely to be in a residential home or institution, than with a foster carer. 

Compared to the cost of supporting families, the cost of “child protection” is enormous, with councils spending up to £1m a year for one placement.  Why are councils making this choice and paying massive amounts to profiteer companies, instead of providing financial support to mothers, as the law demands?  Who is benefitting from these policies?

Support for disabled mothers is the legal standard which all councils should abide by, to keep families together and enable disabled women and our children to have family life.

Contact mumsrights@winvisible.org       Tel: 0207 482 2496 

Twitter @WinVisibleWomen

Note to journalists: WinVisible is also against care cuts, we are part of the Scrap Care Charges campaign (London-wide, England and Wales) and the call for a Care Income for mothers and other carers of people and planet.

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