Updated advice on how to work with parents who have learning disabilities has been issued by the Working Together with Parents Network (WTPN), led by the University of Bristol.
Government guidance on working with parents with a learning disability had not been updated since its publication in 2007, and while its essential principles remain valid over the past few years, the 2007 Guidance appears to have fallen into disuse; professionals working with parents with learning disabilities either have not heard of it, or fail to apply it, according to the WTPN.
One reason for this may be that some elements are out of date. For example, it refers to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but not the Equality Act 2010; Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006, but not 2015.
Nadine Tilbury, policy officer for the WTPN based at the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, said: “There was a clear need for an updated version of the Good Practice Guidance, and to press for compliance with its basic principles, so that the human rights of parents with learning disabilities and those of their children are respected.
“We hope the Department of Health will publish a fuller update in due course, but in the meantime, our interim version will prove helpful for professionals working in the field, and help to ensure parents with learning difficulties, and their children, can access the correct help and support they are entitled to.”
The WTPN team have been running seminars for practitioners on the new guidance, and feedback has been positive, with practitioners commenting how they feel more confident in delivering services to parents.
The updated guidance can be downloaded from the WTPN website: www.wtpn.co.uk