Petition launched after cuts to after-school care for disabled children

Families have claimed that Edinburgh's ChildCare4All scheme is no longer accepting new applicants due to funding cuts.

Petition against City of Edinburgh Council launched after cuts to after-school care for disabled children iStock

Parents have launched a petition after cuts were made to a service which provides trained staff to support children with additional needs at after-school clubs.

Families were informed last week that their children would no longer be able to attend the after-school groups due to City of Edinburgh Council cuts to the ‘ChildCare4All’ programme.

The local authority took over the service from Capability Scotland, and found funding for the individual families affected.

However, mother Juliana Capes has claimed that due to funding cuts the service remains closed to new applicants.

Mrs Capes, who has started a petition named ‘Keep Edinburgh Childcare 4 All’, claimed the council “attempted to quieten the furore” and that services for disabled children should be the “last place where cuts are made”.

She said: “I started the petition because two weeks before the beginning of term the City of Edinburgh Council cut the funding that enables my daughter Delphi to attend her after-school club.

“Lots of other Edinburgh parents found out the same and we all joined together to support each other and challenge the decision.

“Over the last month CEC have chaotically back tracked, blame shifting and attempting to quieten the furore about their decision by finding funding for individual families whilst still closing the fund to all new applicants.

“Tomorrow parents will make a deputation to the full council and hand the petition to Cammy Day, leader of the council, in order to ask councillors to vote to overturn this decision and keep the fund open to new applicants. Anything less is an attempt to gradually erode it.

“And then a full investigation and public report must be ordered so this never happens again. Services for disabled children should be the last place where cuts are made – not the first.”

A petition organised by parents against the cuts has gathered over 3,000 signatures and will be handed to the Lord Provost on Thursday, in a hope to overturn the decision to cut the funding.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, education, children and families convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, previously told STV News that they were left with “no option” but terminate the service after it was performing “significantly below our thresholds for value”.

She said: “All families have been contacted and given assurance that the support they previously received is in place. Officers will continue to develop plans to provide the support in a way that meets our commitment to parents, carers and providers, while also ensuring that public money is not wasted.

“Any delays in contacting affected families were due to the organisation failing to supply us with the necessary details. I will also be writing to the provider to seek further clarity of what the funds were used for and the services that were provided.”

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “All families have been contacted and officers will continue to develop plans to provide support in a way that meets the needs of those young people.”