Disabled parents could encounter further problems under DfES plans

The development of children’s trusts and the relocation of
children’s social services in the Department for Education and
Skills could worsen the situation of disabled parents, a taskforce
has warned writes Amy Taylor.

The group, representing government, social
services, voluntary groups and parents with disabilities, expressed
concerns that children’s and adult’s community care policies
could become further separated under the new arrangements, making
joint working on the ground even harder and increasing difficulties
experienced by parents with disabilities.

Their report, based on evidence from parents,
professionals and researchers collected over two year, points out
that the failure of children’s services to work with adult
community care teams already caused some disabled parents to have
their children taken into the care without their entitlement to
support under community care legislation being assessed or

Chris Hanvey, UK director of operations at
children’s charity Barnardo’s, said he shared the report’s
concerns about “a worrying omission in the thinking about the
co-existence of children’s trusts and adult community care

The report adds that social services often
only respond to parents’ problems if their children are placed on
the “at risk” register – making them vulnerable to
losing them into care.

The taskforce, established by the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation, is calling for changes in child protection
guidelines to ensure that disabled parents’ support needs are
assessed before decisions are made about their capacity to care for
their children.

 – The
right support: Report of the Task Force on Supporting Disabled
Adults in their Parenting Role
from www.jrf.org.uk


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