Updated advice on how to work with parents who have learning difficulties has been issued by the Working Together with Parents Network (WPTN), 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.
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 guidance needed updating for several reasons. Although its essential principles remain as valid today as they were in 2007, 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.
One reason for this may be that some elements are now clearly out of date – for example it refers to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but not the Equality Act 2010; Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006, but not 2015.
The WPTN team have been running seminars for practitioners on the new guidance, and feedback has been positive. Comments from attendees included: