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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2004): Services for the Disabled - UK

EMPOWERMENT AND ADVOCACY: REFLECTIONS ON ACTION RESEARCH WITHIN BANGLADESHI AND PAKISTANI FAMILIES WHO HAVE CHILDREN WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES

Q. Fazil and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.12, 2004, p.389-397

The paper examines the concepts of empowerment and advocacy, and how they impinge on power relationships between service providers and the Black and Asian communities. Analyses the impact of an advocacy service evaluated between 2000 and 2001 on Pakistani and Bangladeshi families with disabled children in Birmingham. The service objectives included improving access to resources, information and support in ways that were non-stigmatising and sensitive to the particular needs of the children and their parents.

"I HAVE GOT MY LIFE BACK": USERS' EXPERIENCE OF DIRECT PAYMENTS

T. Stainton and S. Boyce

Disability and Society, vol.19, 2004, p.443-454

Paper reports on a two-year evaluation of two Direct Payments (DP) schemes in Wales. User responses indicate a broad range of beneficial outcomes including improved self-esteem, increased control over lives, deeper and more lasting relationships and new interpersonal, vocational and lifestyle opportunities, as a result of the greater flexibility and freedom of choice enabled by DP. Family carers also expressed satisfaction with DP schemes, citing greater freedoms as a result of increased flexibility.

INDEPENDENT LIVING AND COMMUNITY CARE: A DISEMPOWERING FRAMEWORK

J. Morris

Disability and Society, vol.19, 2004, p427-442

The current UK community care framework contains many barriers to independent living for disabled people. These range from financial incentives for putting disabled people into residential care to a failure to address needs relating to employment, parenting and leisure. Disabling attitudes held by social services professionals about "risk" and "capacity" are also major barriers. The article concludes that unless legislation is amended to include a right to independent living disabled people will continue to be denied their human and civil rights.

THEY DESERVE BETTER

J. Morris

Community Care, Sept. 2nd - 8th, 2004, p.32-33

Article draws attention to the difficulties disabled parents often have in obtaining their entitlements under the community care legislation. A failure to meet needs relating to impairment and disabling barriers can mean that parents lack the practical support required to carry out parenting tasks. Some parents cannot get help until their family is in crisis and this can result in their ability to look after their children being questioned.

PARTICIPATION OF DISABLED CHILDREN IN INDIVIDUAL DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR LIVES AND PUBLIC DECISIONS ABOUT SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

J. Cavet and P. Sloper

Children and Society, Vol.18, 2004, p.278-290

The article explores the extent to which disabled children participate in decisions which affect their lives and decisions about service delivery. Although there is evidence that children can contribute to decision-making in the right environment, and good practice for ensuring this occurs does exist, the study found that good practice is not general and that significant deficits remain. The authors make a number of recommendations for change, including the extension of advocacy services for disabled children, adoption of inclusive approaches (using multimedia and having communication aids available), staff training and education and strategies for promoting education and information for disabled children and their parents.

TRANSITION PLANNING AND THE NEEDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR CARERS: THE ALUMNI PROJECT M-SMART

British Journal of Special Education, Vol.31, 2004, p.128-137

The article reports the results of a survey which looked at the views of 17 parents whose children with severe and/or complex learning disabilities had made the transition from a residential special school to an adult placement. Parents were asked their retrospective views on the transition planning process, their own involvement, and how the adult placement met the needs of their children. The majority of parents were very much involved in the planning process, but reported struggling to get consistency of approach and basic information. The young people themselves were marginalised in the transition process, with very few involved in any decision-making. Most parents were happy with the eventual placement. Of those who had suffered placement breakdowns, the major factor was lack of consistency of approach and failure to use prior information about the child.

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