Eligibility criteria leave disabled parents without support services

Disabled parents are often unable to obtain
support services because their needs are not included in
eligibility criteria, delegates heard last week.

Researcher Michele Wates, who was commissioned
by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to examine social services
departments’ written protocols on disabled parents told delegates:
“We very much hope that in the forthcoming Fair Access to Care
– the policy guidance of which is out for
consultation – social services should include something on the
parenting role and tasks within the eligibility criteria in
community care services.”

She said that only a handful of the country’s
150 departments had a set of protocols that focused particularly on
disabled parents.

The findings, due to be published early next
year, also show that disabled parents are anxious about approaching
social services for help, but few measures are taken to address
these fears. In over half of the 30 policies and protocols
analysed, the intention to support disabled parents was not
translated into measures that would be supportive in practice.

Wates said disabled parents were also
reluctant to ask social services for help because they did not want
their children labelled as children in need.

She added that social services were often too
eager to focus on the children of disabled people, while support
for their parents often dropped off the agenda.

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