National Report on Support for Disabled Parents
A new report has been published concerning how local services are doing in supporting disabled parents and their families. This report was published in February, detailing the results from a survey that was made up of 70 interviews, covering 50 councils. According to the report, there is not a consistent level of support from local councils for disabled parents and their families.
We at the Parents' Forum believe that the best way to help improve services for all families is to speak to parents and take their views into consideration. We feel that this report is a good view of what disabled parents and their families go through on a day to day basis.
We have asked our own Wheeliemumma to give a summary of the document and her own views on its findings. So, keep reading to see what she thought.
Summary of supporting disabled parents or a fragmented approach? by Wheeliemumma
This report states we are a diverse group of people, including those parents with physical and sensory impairment/learning disability/mental health needs. Drug and alcohol related problems, long-term medical conditions such as living with HIV and parents who identify as part of the deaf community.
Some parents with additional support requirements relating to impairment may not identify as ‘disabled parents' others may resist being described as such as they fear it may lead to inappropriate interventions in their lives.
It was estimated that 1.1 million households had dependent children that have at least one disabled parent.
It stated that the Commission for Social Care Inspection seeks to examine the experiences of disabled parents and their families.
Local strategies and policies showed that only 17 councils in the survey had collected any information about disabled parents and their families living in their area. 17 out of 50 councils involved, that's 34% surveyed, so few are planning and commissioning services on a basis of knowledge!
Only 12% of councils in the survey reported that they took a whole family focus!
It also states that not equating ‘disabled parent' with ‘child in need' - ‘thinking parent and recognizing that disabled parents can face barriers in accessing services and support ( including mainstream services) are key to the development of good practice.
The disability discrimination act 2005 places a general duty on all public sector authorities to promote disability equality! And that "Children's needs are usually best met by supporting their parents to look after them". "Disabled parents are entitled to the same access to services as all parents, including parenting support and information services"
Although councils noted a lack of an organized lobby specifically for disabled parents due to, what they call, a difficulty in finding "Representatives who will give a voice to the needs of this service user group" (senior manager children's services). Where it did exist there were concerns about dangers of always consulting the same people and therefore not reflecting the diverse population of disabled parents. It was felt that response to families was often crisis driven and short-term. The current difficulties experienced by disabled parents and their families indicate there is still much more to be done at policy, operational and practice levels.
The target audience for this document were; directors of adult services, chief executives, councilors of local councils with adults social services responsibilities in England, social care stakeholders, care providers, national policy leads and academics.
Fragmented, I'd say!
I am deeply upset that my own thoughts on this subject have been proved totally correct in a legal document by a commissioning service.
It is positive in the fact that the truth of the services provided have been bought to the attention of public members and those that can make a difference to so many , within their local areas.
The sadness is, how long will this go on?
When will someone take on the responsibilities needed?
To the commissioners and people who can structure a whole new way that disabled parents are catered for,
"Come on, listen to the people who really know. People like me, who live the life."
All parents should be treated the same and entitled to the same things, despite health issues. Our children deserve to be looked after, just as all the others are and so do we!
We should be a targeted audience. Is it not easier to see the truth and nothing but the whole truth closer to home, among those who experience life as a disabled parent??
To read the full report click here.