Councils are failing to offer adequate support to disabled parents, with many people falling into the “gap” between adult and children’s services, according to a survey by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
While councils have responsibilities to support disabled parents with children and assist their children who care for them, few were able to join up policies effectively, the survey of 50 English authorities found.
Two-thirds of councils admitted that their policies focused separately on adults’ and children’s issues, leading to disputes over resources and lack of communication between frontline staff.
CSCI also found that just 17% of councils collected any information about disabled parents and their families living in their area so could not plan services appropriately.
And only one-third had developed any kind of joint protocol to ensure shared understanding of roles and responsibilities between the council and partner agencies.
The inspectorate concluded that while personalisation and policies to ensure a family approach offered a chance to address the problems, implementation was slow.
CSCI raised particular concern over poor assessments of the needs of disabled parents and their families, meaning some did not always qualify for personal budgets or other publicly-funded support. Many councils were found to be “over-reliant” on members of the family to provide help, many of whom were children.
Minority with family-focused policies
A minority of councils – 12% – were found to have clear family-focused policies or joint protocols but such practice was not consistent across the country.
CSCI chair Dame Denise Platt urged all councils to ensure that adults’ and children’s services worked closely together to ensure that no child or disabled parent fell “through the gap” in services.
“If councils cannot understand and provide the support needed by these families, they will be unable to sustain accessible and inclusive communities where disabled parents and their children enjoy the same quality of life as other families,” she said.
Support needs of disabled parents