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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2007): Services for the disabled - UK

Direct payments and disabled people in the UK: supply, demand and devolution

M. Priestley and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p.1189-1204

The 1996 Community Care (Direct Payments) Act empowered local authorities across the UK to offer direct payments to some disabled people in lieu of services. However, after ten years, take-up remains low and implementation varies greatly across the UK. Rates of take-up in England are more than double those in other parts of the UK, raising questions about devolution and equity. This paper presents data from a national study which examined some of the mechanisms underlying uneven outcomes for disabled people in different parts of the UK, with particular reference to the politics of devolved governance.

Disabled children's experience of permanency in the looked after system

C. Baker

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 1173-1188

Disabled children constitute a significant group among those looked after by local authorities, but research focusing on their experiences is lacking. This study has looked at the care career trajectories of 596 disabled children in foster care over three years. Based on her involvement in the study, the author developed the idea that disabled children may be at risk of experiencing a 'reverse ladder of permanency', being less likely than their peers to receive permanent placements such as adoption or return home. However, findings were more complex than this hypothesis implied. Results showed that children with learning difficulties were less likely to be adopted. In general disabled children who were adopted were adopted later and tended to be adopted by their carers. Disabled children were also less likely to return home, and those who did so returned home later than their non-disabled peers. Finally, 'clearly disabled' children were more likely to be placed permanently with their foster carers than either the contested group or non-disabled children.

Equalities and inclusion in play and childcare

R. Scott

ChildRight, issue 241, 2007, p. 26-29

Many play, leisure and childcare settings, extended schools and even some new children's centres are inaccessible and/or unwelcoming to disabled children. The Playwork Inclusion Project, run by the charity Kids, campaigns for the inclusion of disabled children in universal play and childcare services.

Impairment and disability: law and ethics at the beginning and end of life

S. McLean and L. Williamson

Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007

The book explores legislation intended to protect the interests of people with disabilities or impairments. Considering a broad range of ethical and legal concerns which arise in issues of life, death and disability, it covers the social and legal responses to the equality rights of disabled people. It engages with contemporary debates, examines case studies and explores the problems surrounding many legal concepts within the context of disability and impairment. The book also argues that it is crucial to distinguish between unjust discrimination and differential treatment and unify the disagreements surrounding the issues by highlighting ethical ideals that should be shared by all stakeholders in life and death decisions that impact on people with disabilities.

The impetus for family-centred early childhood intervention

B. Carpenter

Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 33, 2007, p. 664-669

This article reviews the difficulties faced by families in the UK, where, as the government acknowledges, life chances are still unequal. Early intervention services can increase the likelihood of struggling families with disabled children being able to engage with mainstream services such as health and education, thus reducing the long-term costs to society. A raft of such services are now available in the UK, including Sure Start, Early Support, and the National Centre for Early Childhood Intervention.

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