Department of Health calls on councils to avoid discriminating against parents with learning disabilities

Councils should take steps to avoid discriminating against parents with learning disabilities when their children are involved in care proceedings, according to new government guidance.

The Department of Health document urged councils “not to make assumptions” about the parental capacity of people with learning disabilities and to give them more support including independent advocacy and accessible information.

The guidance on best practice for working with parents with a learning disability cited figures showing that around 40% of parents with a learning disability were not living with their children.

It also highlighted an increase in the number of parents with learning disabilities in the caseloads of clinical psychologists over the past decade.

The guidance said parents feared children were going to be taken away from them, making it harder for them to respond positively to assessments and interventions.

The document, Good Practice Guidance on Working with Parents with a Learning Disability, said many children and family social workers did not feel adequately equipped to work effectively with parents with learning disabilities, while many adult learning disability services struggled to support parents.

Community Care’s A Life Like Any Other campaign http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2007/06/01/104492/a-life-like-any-other-campaign.html is calling for people with learning disabilities to do the things everyone takes for granted, including enjoying family life.

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