Parents with learning disabilities: giving evidence in care proceedings

During a session at Community Care Live, Nadine Tilbury will discuss the cross-examination questions that you need to be prepared to answer

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You’ve been working with a family where the parents have learning disabilities and there are concerns about neglect of the children. Although some progress has been made, you don’t feel that it is sufficient, or that it will be maintained. With their IQ being under 70, you don’t think the parents can provide the necessary stimulation or help the children with their homework, especially as they grow older. The amount of support needed means the supporters will be doing the parenting, not the parents. Often they agree to do something, for example, attend an appointment, but then they don’t. And the parenting capacity assessment clearly shows that they can’t prove they can parent.

Care proceedings are inevitable, in your view. You know you will be called to give evidence. What might you be asked?

Likely areas for cross-examination include:

  • How you applied the principles of the government’s Good practice guidance on working with parents with a learning disability, in your work with this family.
  • How you ensured that the family’s rights under the Care Act 2014, Equality Act 2010, and Human Rights Act 1998 were respected.
  • What experience/expertise you have regarding parents who have learning disabilities.
  • What makes this parenting assessment appropriate for a parent with learning disabilities.
  • How you evidenced the ‘concerns’ referred to.
  • How much of your evidence is speculation.
  • How you assessed and evaluated the risks you have identified.

Will you be able to answer these questions satisfactorily?

Nadine Tilbury, policy officer and senior research associate, University of Bristol, will be delivering a legal learning session on working with parents with learning disabilities at Community Care Live London on 25 September at 3.30pm. To reserve your place at this session, register for Community Care Live and select this legal learning session. There is a fee of £29 plus VAT for each legal learning session you attend. The vast majority of sessions at Community Care Live remain free to attend.

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One Response to Parents with learning disabilities: giving evidence in care proceedings

  1. EJ September 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

    If not attending an appointment, helping a child with homework, or “stimulating” the child enough is reason to traumatise a child by removing them from their parents in today’s law then the law is worse than an ass. Schools have homework clubs, children can do homework at a friend’s house where the friend’s parent can oblige or a family friend/relative could help. As for stimulation, there are parents for whom no cause would be found for social services involvement, that they leave their children sat in front of the TV for hours on end. Destroying families has to stop. If a parent loves their children and does their best, has not abused their child, then support where needed should be given to enable the family to stay together. If they are feeding and clothing their child and keeping them safe, if they are able to demonstrate affection, then there is no right of anybody to take their children. Parents with learning disabilities have been targeted for too long and it’s inhumane and a total breach of their human rights. Taking children harms the children!