Aberlour Children’s Charity has launched a new campaign, No Place Like Home, to highlight the support needs of parents with learning disabilities and their children and the requirement for greater parenting support services across the country to help keep families together.
Research suggests between 40 and 60 per cent of parents with learning disabilities will have their children taken into care due to them being assessed as unable to meet an adequate standard of parenting1. Meanwhile only two per cent of children across Scotland are looked after or are on the child protection register.
Developed in partnership with parents with learning disabilities, ‘No Place Like Home’ is a joint campaign led by Aberlour Children’s Charity and supported by Parenting Across Scotland (PAS) and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD). It aims to raise awareness of the myriad of issues parents with learning disabilities can face and the need for more consistent services across Scotland to provide flexible and personalised support to families before they reach crisis point.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families, and we recognise that learning disabled parents need help and support.
“We are currently considering further work to address this, as part of the next phase of our Learning Disability Strategy “Keys to Life”. We want to ensure that we meet the aspirations and expectations of people with a learning disability, including their right to a family life.”
Aberlour Children’s Charity currently runs a service in South Ayrshire which provides flexible and long-term support for parents with learning disabilities and their families. The service supports families in a variety of ways, from weekly cooking classes that teach parents with learning disabilities about nutrition and the importance of cooking healthy meals for their children, to providing more intensive, at-home support for parents struggling to cope.
Chief Executive of Aberlour Children’s Charity, Sally-Ann Kelly said: “Our new campaign, No Place Like Home, has been launched to raise awareness of the wide-ranging challenges parents with learning disabilities face and the importance of providing this vulnerable group in society with flexible and personalised help and support. If we can get it right for learning disabled parents, we can prevent children from being taken into care.
“There is a huge benefit to society in providing early and ongoing support to parents with learning disabilities, such as reducing the number of children referred to children’s hearing systems and the associated financial implications. When provided with the correct support, many parents with learning disabilities can improve their skills and knowledge and learn to parent more effectively.”
Chris Creegan, Chief Executive, The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability, “The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability welcomes the No Place Like Home campaign. People with learning disabilities should have the same rights to family life as anyone else. Research commissioned by the SCLD on behalf of the Scottish Government shows that, in practice, people learning disabilities face a myriad of challenges when they become parents. But we know that with the right support and a whole family approach they can provide loving and stable homes for their children. Our Parenting Task Group will continue to work with partners to ensure that support is provided to every parent in Scotland who needs it.”
Clare Simpson, Manager, Parenting Across Scotland, added: “Parents with learning disabilities have a right to have their children staying with them. With the right support they can be good parents to their children”.
— ENDS —
Notes to editors:
- The 40-60% figure is an estimated figure, which comes from Wilson et al, 2013
- There are no official numbers of parents with learning disabilities in Scotland at present. Some estimates have been made based on English studies.