Twenty years of research shows UK child development team provision still varies widely for children with disability

Child Care Health Dev. 2013 Nov;39(6):903-7. doi: 10.1111/cch.12025. Epub 2013 Feb 21.


Objectives: To identify how services provided by child development teams (CDTs) have changed over 20 years. To what extent have major government initiatives aiming to improve the lives of children with disability and their families been implemented by teams?

Design: Survey sent to every UK CDT in 2009/2010; comparison with data gathered in 1988 and 1999.

Results: Ninety-four per cent (225/240) of CDTs responded; data on 242 teams were available from 1999 and 125 teams from 1988. Despite policy recommendations advocating the value of interdisciplinary team working, there was a decline in numbers of professionals working within the CDT multidisciplinary team. One-third of all teams reported a reduction in their funding over the last 5 years. However, specialist clinics provided increased. Teams reported patchy adoption of national initiatives designed to improve provision. Transition services were underdeveloped.

Conclusions: This comprehensive survey of UK CDT service provision, as well as national studies of the healthcare experience of families with a disabled child, shows that improvements in provision are required.

Keywords: child development teams; neurodevelopment; neurodisability; services.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child Health Services / economics
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / economics
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / standards
  • Resource Allocation / organization & administration