A call to Government for a SEND Equality Review

A call to government for a SEND Equality review following a decade of failings to disabled children & families from diverse community backgrounds.

Charity is calling for the government to review the last 10 years of equality duties failings in SEND delivery to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Disabled Children Young People and their families.

BAME disabled children, young people and their families continue to be underrepresented in services uptake, participation and representative bodies. Furthermore have limited support to accessible information and advice.

During July 2016 House of Lords roundtable event Include Me TOO led on with Baroness Uddin a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability and All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism; Lord Chris Holmes, Chair of the Disability Committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and an Ambassador of Include Me TOO and partner organisation Equalities National Council, asking to readdress the balance of equality, race and disability.

The roundtable discussions highlighted concerns of SEND reform and delivery failing the Equality Duties in regards to the multiple characteristics BAME disabled children, young people and their families are protected under including the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities.

‘Whilst as diverse communities we need to increase disability awareness, acceptance, change attitudes and increase community support we also need to strengthen our voices in ensuring disabled children and their families are receiving support from services and having their needs met. Our main concerns and our involvement in this article was to highlight that substantial resources have been available over the last decade to improve services and support to disabled children and their families yet there are only a few pockets of practice which are seen as making progress regarding the needs of the BAME disabled children, young people and families. When resources are allocated to the BAME sector these are tokenistic small resources that are yet again to consult on how to improve BAME engagement and access, this is a waste of resources which could be allocated to strengthen the BAME sector who already are supporting these families and communities.

The bias culture needs to change and after a decade of meetings, advising on steering groups, highlighting the importance of equality and diversity with government officials and their strategic partners sadly there has been no progress to address the inequalities a generation of BAME disabled children, young people and their families have experienced and as a result the government and their partners in delivery have failed them. The barriers to diverse representation and contribution by having a ‘seat around the table’ are consistently made impossible surely this is an area which needs to be challenged as the strategic representatives and delivery partners for SEND do not represent the BAME sector of disabled persons, families and communities’. Parmi Dheensa (Include Me TOO Executive Director)

Include Me TOO are calling for a review to readdress the balance as a first step towards progress:

• Equality duties considered in decisions made by the DfE in regards to SEND policy, implementation and service delivery.

• Review of contracts and equality impact/outcome assessments of SEND programmes delivered since 2006 highlighting areas to meet ‘hard to reach’ communities.

• Review of the last 10 years of BAME representation in government level strategic decision making processes, advisory panels and delivery partners in the implementation of SEND

• Identify resources allocated specifically to reduce the inequalities of BAME disabled children, young people and their families to provide them with an equal chance.

• Review the last ten years national programmes such as Aiming High for Disabled Children, Parents and Carers participation, Early Support, Preparing for Adulthood, Short Breaks, SEND reform, Independent Supporters etc…

• Highlight lessons learnt and produce a disability equality and diversity strategy providing clear outcomes and tools to measure the needs of BAME disabled children, young people, young adults and their families are considered and supported.
Include Me TOO are further concerned that without real action and collaboration to readdress the balance within the existing mechanisms the barriers to the inclusion, participation, support and rights of BAME disabled children, young people and their families will continue.

For further details please do contact us on im2@includemetoo.org.uk Contact number 01902 711604 Mobile contact number 07940367753

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/midlands-mother-autistic-son-ingrained-minority-ethnic-prejudice

Include Me TOO and Commonwealth Youth Council

Strengthening The Participation and Inclusion of Disabled Young People Internationally.

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity, joined hands with the Commonwealth Youth Council, an international youth-led NGO, to advance mutual objectives.

Include Me TOO an award winning charity has led on disabled children and young people, and their families, from a diverse range of backgrounds participation and inclusion for over a decade, with innovative and creative approaches. The charity is committed in promoting and supporting social justice, equality, inclusion and the rights of disabled children and young people.

The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), as mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of Government as the official voice of the 1.2+ billion young people of the Commonwealth, have embarked on an 18-month campaign to promote the interests of youth with disabilities. Their priority areas are empowerment of young people with disabilities, both economically and as community leaders; recognition of the work of young PWDs; data collection about young PWDs. The CYC is supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat that recently launched the Global Youth Development Index and a clear call was made for age-disaggregated data. The CYC is going further to make a call for age, gender and disability disaggregated data so that no one feels invisible to evidence-based policy. Overall, the campaign seeks to change perceptions.

Both organisations are coming together to strengthen the participation, inclusion and rights of disabled young people internationally with Commonwealth member states. The partnership’s project titled ‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ will also be promoting disability awareness and understanding aiming to increase the positive attitudes and acceptance as well as developing a platform for diverse representation of disabled role models. Another key areas of the project is increasing the involvement of disabled young people in the planning and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) 2030’s agenda.

Over the next year there are a host of activities to expect from this partnership supporting this year’s Commonwealth theme, a ‘peace-building’ Commonwealth, Include Me TOO and Commonwealth Youth Council will be hosting

  • Two Twitter chats on the 14th and 17th March 2017 at 1PM GMT (Commonwealth week) to discuss ‘Ending violence and abuse against women and girls with disabilities’ and ‘Disability inclusion, rights, participation what matters’.
  • A Roundtable discussion where are we currently in supporting disabled children and young people’s rights in the Commonwealth.
  • Video campaign gathering stories of disabled young people globally their aspirations and goals.