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How Social Services Treat DisAbled Parents

May 11, 2009

This is a guest post by Charley Hasted. Thanks to Charley. It’s part of a new debate at Same Difference on DisAbled parents.

I’m posting this because I believe it is of national importance and people need to be aware of it.

I have received information that in the wake of the baby P case social services have become a lot keener on taking children into care. Disgustingly they have been targeting disabled parents.

Two legal support organisations have received between them 53 calls from disabled parents whose children either been or are threatened with being taken into care within the last week. One would ordinarily expect to receive 3 in a year, the other says this is a 100% of the calls they received for the whole of last year on this issue… in a week.

Disabled parents are being unfairly targeted by social services, These children are not being abused but they are suffering because the very people taking them away from their parents and family are the people who made it so they were potentially at risk of neglect in the first place. This is because when social services do a care needs report on a disabled person they don’t take into account the disabled persons parenting duties and thus don’t provide any support for them in this regard. When the child is then forced to look after themselves in various ways because the parent can’t and social services won’t provide support to disabled parents that they should, social services are declaring that the child is being neglected by their parent and are taking them into care or placing them on the at risk register.

These children are not being neglected by their parents, their parents love them and want to care for them but may be unable to through no fault of their own it is social services who are not providing adequate support.

As someone who was a young carer myself I know exactly how hard young carer’s lives are my sister and myself had to do all the cooking and cleaning, we had to get my mother up each morning and put her to bed each night, we did all the laundry and we did this from a fairly young age but never once were we neglected. My mother did her level best to ensure we didn’t miss out on things, yes our social lives were restricted and there were other disadvantages but this was in no way my mother’s fault or her will.

While I cannot help but agree that children need to be protected from neglect and abuse. Social services need to learn to differentiate between cases where the parent/s genuinely don’t give a damn about their kids and actually are neglecting them (and these are as likely to be disabled as not) and those where a child is arguably suffering from similar issues as a child who was being neglected and this is through no fault of the parents but instead the failings of social services itself.

The sadly ironic thing is that once a disabled persons child is taken into care they are entitled to receive care from social services to perform the tasks that the young carer would have done, Had they received that care while their child was still resident they would, in all likelihood, not have been taken into care in the first place.

This is blatant discrimination, it is unconscionable and and social services department doing this should be thoroughly ashamed of itself. These children are not being neglected by their parents they are being neglected because social services are not providing their parents with the support they need for their children and themselves to put them in an equitable situation with households where the parent/s are not disabled.

Please get this out to anyone you can think of, write to your local councillors, MPs, MEPs, contact the local and national press. We cannot sit back and allow this to happen. We cannot allow disabled people to have their children taken from them for no reason.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2009 8:33 pm

    Hi

    Please sign my petition to the Prime Minister to support disabled parents.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Disabled-Parents/

    The petition reads:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to legislate to
    meet the financial and social care needs and rights of disabled
    parents

    The needs and rights of disabled parents are currently
    unrecognised by legislation, social care practice and benefit
    provision. The additional costs of raising children as a
    disabled parent is not accounted for with Disability Living
    Allowance or Child Tax Credits. Although the government
    suggests that disabled parents are supported by adult social
    services this is rarely the case in practice with little form
    of redress. Children’s centres regularly make specialist
    provision for disabled children and yet there is no provision
    or respite available for disabled parents.

    The government needs to create robust guidelines and
    legislation that supports disabled parents on a financial and
    social care basis. The children of disabled parents can no
    longer be expected to live in poverty and isolation in this
    hidden family underclass.

    Thank you for your support. We need 500 signitures to get the petition to
    be passed to Gordan Brown so please pass this email on to your friends /
    collegues.

    Isabella Devani

  2. November 6, 2009 3:50 am

    How does a disabled parent suffering from Legal Abuse Syndrome get access to therapy? A therapist is charging $1800 for just the initial intake. Psychologists paid by children services observed distance (a symptom of PTSD) and blamed it on the side effects of my medication. On top of my disability, I’ve been suffering from emotional triggers. The harm the injustices did to my mind isn’t being treated.

    My being in a post-traumatic state isn’t helping my family life. These agencies are better at causing problems for disabled parents than solving them.

    I need the assistance of a true healer. If you know of any assistance available for someone in my condition please e-mail me.

  3. Joyce Nicoll permalink
    July 25, 2010 7:34 pm

    RE Petition for disable parents rights…I think this should be re-opened and better publicised. Public authorities are not allowed to breach the human rights act and they do so if they breach one of the european human rights convention. It is quite clear on the disabled parents issue of takinga way kids and not supporting their families, they are breaching ECHR art8 (Right to privacy and a family life), they are also breaching the Uk & ECHR disability legislation and conventions including the new UN rights for the disabled signed in march 2010

    the use of a “blanket approach” to incapacity needs to end -it is unlawful
    All parents need appropriate support, it is the best investment into people’s and the country’s future.

    If you have experience of “blanket incapacity” being used,
    plus any difficulties relatng to social work seeking gardianship powers over yourself or someone you know with a mental incapacity eg dementia, epilepsy, learning disability -get in touch.

    Joyce

  4. Joyce Nicoll permalink
    August 9, 2010 9:19 pm

    Following article was printed on The Scotsman 26th July 2010.
    It has relevance for incapacitated parents:

    System needs Right to Record

    The Scotsman recently reported the broadside levelled by a sheriff at the damaging performance of a social worker and police interviewers investigating what turned out to be a groundless accusation of child sexual abuse.
    (In particular he was appalled that the crucial interviews were not recorded on DVD but were based on inaccurate illegible handwritten notes written up afterwards and worse, that the social worker involved was “tragically unaware” of the consequences to the child of her conduct.)

    The problems arising from flawed legislation designed to protect the child in such allegation cases and the way the professional procedure is built around inherent conflicts of interest are also happening point for point with incapacitated adults.

    Perhaps it is a more serious issue given that the right to record should go to the heart of the legal rights of such adults yet the system enables social-work to determine whether an adult’s views are heard , what they are and it can seek powers over that person’s life.

    The problem is appearing in different regions where social-work are seeking welfare guardianship powers for themselves under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act – “AWIA”

    Incapacity affects a wide range of adults with brain damage reducing their cognitive function including those with dementia, epilepsy, stroke damage and learning disabilities.

    Social-work controls the information flows internally to and from other team members and externally to the court, supervisory bodies and to the person, their family and their lawyers. It compiles the case Record for the court and effectively established the facts the court will consider.

    AWIA should be about protecting and upholding the dignity and rights of the adult and limiting infringement by the State and others by clearly defining where and how interference may happen. The system is ripe for abuse. Misreporting and falsehoods spread like a virus through the multi-disciplinary team and reappear to substantiate themselves in court through the mouths of team-members deemed in court as being independent of each other- creating “institutionalised gossip”.

    Suspected abuse by public bodies could be avoided by having a legal right to digitally record. It is stunningly obvious that a recording will resolve any dispute about the accuracy of the social worker’s version of events.

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