Research and analysis

Disabled children's access to childcare (DCATCH): a qualitative evaluation

A report into an evaluation of the disabled children’s access to childcare pilot.


The disabled children’s access to childcare (DCATCH) pilot was a specific element of the aiming high for disabled children (AHDC) initiative, to improving childcare provision for this group of children and their families. This £35 million initiative, which ran from March 2008 to March 2011, involved funding 10 local authorities to pilot ways of improving the range and quality of childcare for families of disabled children, and involving the families in shaping childcare services.

This report presents the findings of 2 qualitative studies:

  1. of families’ views on the acceptability and impact of DCATCH
  2. a process evaluation of three themes identified by the scoping study
    • brokerage
    • information and outreach
    • the provision of additional services - including one-to-one support for disabled children in group settings

This study comprised qualitative interviews with 22 families across the DCATCH pilot areas with the aim of exploring the acceptability and impact of DCATCH support/interventions. It looked at families who had been in receipt of tangible support which resulted in some kind of childcare being put in place. It aims to find out more about what difference these arrangements made and what particular characteristics of support made the most difference.