Autism Alliance report highlights impact of social care crisis on autistic adults
This campaign addresses the severe consequences of the social care crisis on autistic adults and their families, calling on the government to rectify this human rights injustice and commit to broader social care reform.
Key statistics from the campaign reveal that over 10,000 autistic adults in England, primarily those with moderate learning disabilities, lack essential social care. An alarming 77% of autistic adults reach crisis points while awaiting care, enduring wait times exceeding 2 years. Even when care is provided, nearly half (48%) state that it fails to meet their needs.
The root of this crisis lies in the government's long-term underinvestment in adult social care. The insufficient resources, combined with a lack of understanding of autism, inadequate community support, and neglect of specialist care providers, resulting in autistic adults missing vital care. The consequences include challenges in community integration, employment, mental health deterioration, hospitalisation, and family breakdowns.
The Care Act 2014's mandate for meeting eligible needs is often unmet, constituting a violation of the law across the country due to government underinvestment in social care. Autistic adults, who already face stark inequalities in life expectancy, health, and employment, experience a double disadvantage exacerbated by the social care crisis.
The Breaking Point campaign presents three urgent calls to action. Firstly, despite the significant gap in care for autistic adults, it represents a fraction of national social care spending (0.4% to 0.7%) and could be addressed by fulfilling promises made in Building the Right Support. The campaign urges the government to promptly close this care gap.
Secondly, recognising that the experiences of autistic adults mirror wider social care challenges, the campaign calls on the government to demonstrate vision and leadership by committing to reform. Long-term underinvestment has jeopardised the social care sector, impacting the economic and social fabric of the country. The government must engage urgently in meaningful reform to secure necessary investment for a functional care system.
Lastly, the campaign emphasises a consensus among local authorities, care providers, and autistic adults and their families regarding necessary changes for improved access to specialist social care. Local action is essential, entailing greater partnership, a focus on living well, enhanced autism training, and strengthened accountability.
This campaign resonates with BASW England and its Homes Not Hospitals campaign which continues to advocate for the many autistic people who are inappropriately detained in hospital settings and not receiving the appropriate care they deserve within the community. Our campaign echoes the call for a focus on investment in prevention to ensure autistic people and their families can access the support and services when they need them.
BASW England urges the government to heed these calls, recognising the urgency of closing the gap in care for autistic adults and committing to comprehensive social care reform.