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 warnedwrites 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 addressed.

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 services”.

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

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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