Assessments worry after child care case

The Disability Rights Commission has hit out at the impact of risk
assessments on the lives of disabled people after a couple with low
IQs were forced to give up their children for adoption.

A High Court judge agreed with Essex social services that the
four-year-old girl and 14-month-old boy would be at risk if they
stayed with their parents.

The 28-year-old mother has learning difficulties and the father,
37, has a low IQ.

Disability Rights Commission chair Bert Massie said: “People may be
forgiven for thinking that risk cases like these are the exception,
but in our experience they are very much the rule.

“Throughout our lives risk is being used as the excuse to deny
disabled people the opportunities to contribute and participate
fully in society.”

Clair Pyper, service director for Essex Council’s children and
young people’s service, said social services had done everything it
could to try to keep the family together.

But she said the council believed the children were likely to
suffer significant harm unless they were removed, and that one of
them had already suffered emotional harm.

David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at learning difficulty
charity Mencap, said that latest research showed that about 70 per
cent of children with a parent with a learning difficulty were
removed from the family.

He said this was of “great concern” because these parents did not
receive enough support to enable them to care for their children.

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