The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014: Making it work for parents with learning disabilities

Web Admin Blog, News item

Oonagh Brown, Policy and Implementation Officer (Parenting), outlines how Part 12 of the Act will directly impact some parents with learning disabilities and highlights ways for professionals to get involved.

The Working Together with Parents (Scottish) Network is holding events in local authorities about Part 12 of The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

These events will provide Information about Part 12, good practice examples and the opportunity to think about how services can better support parents with learning disabilities.

Event attendees will hear about the experience of parents.

Speakers at the event will include a mixture of representatives from: Edinburgh City Council, Children First, Aberlour and People First (Scotland).

Attendees will also get input from SCLD staff.

These events are taking place on the:

  • 6th of February at Voluntary Action Fife
  • 23rd of February at The Steeple, Dundee

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 became law in March 2014 and is a wide-ranging act covering many areas which may impact a child’s life.

Included in the act is the role of the Named Person and how agencies can work together to create a Child’s Plan.

The act as a whole has great significance to the lives of all children and families across Scotland.

The focus of the upcoming events will be on Part 12 of the Act. This is because Part 12 will directly impact some parents with learning disabilities.

Part 12 and parents with learning disabilities

Part 12 of the act states that local authorities have a duty to provide Family Group Decision Making Services and Parenting Support Services to children at risk of becoming looked after and to significant adults in relation to a child.

Part 12 has significance to parents who have a learning disabilities and the services they receive.

Although many parents with learning disabilities will raise their own children, international research from the 1960s to 1990s has shown that 40 to 60 percent of parents with learning disabilities will have a child removed from their care (McConnell: 2002).

The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014) identifies parental learning disability as a factor which may impact a child’s safety and wellbeing.

Together this shows the barriers faced by parents who have learning disabilities.

The legal duty that Part 12 places on local authorities to provide relevant services gives them a real opportunity to reduce these barriers. But it also presents them with a challenge with regards to available resources, time and staff training.

But, challenges in service provision can be met, and this challenge is no different. A range of developments can be made on both an individual and organisation level to improve services for parents. For example, providing accessible information about child wellbeing concerns allows parents more chance to participate in the child protection processes.

The benefit of this opportunity cannot be over-estimated. If services can provide positive experiences for parents and their families then improvements in individual’s confidence and parenting skills can be achieved.

In the long term, these positive developments will not only improve services for parents with learning disabilities but will also contribute to the wellbeing of children impacted by parental learning disability in Scotland.

Working Together with Parents Network

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The Working Together with Parents Network provides a free UK-wide resource for professionals working with parents with learning difficulties. It is made up of four regional groups in England and country wide networks in Scotland and Wales.

By joining the network you will:

  • Be linked to professionals across the UK working with parents with learning disabilities,
  • Receive good practice examples, resources, policy, and research,
  • Be invited to attend network meetings and local events,
  • Be invited to join the members’ only message board,
  • Hear views from parents with learning disabilities.

If you would like to join the network please click here and click the button at the bottom of the email.

Alternatively, visit the Working Together with Parents Network site.