Disabled Children and their Families – a damning ITV Wales news story
Earlier this year, the Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem-solving (LEaP) Project at the University of Leeds published a major report concerning English social care policies and practices that had the effect of ‘Institutionalising Parent Carer Blame’. The report noted, however, that this problem did not appear to be confined to English children’s services authorities.
ITV Wales has published details of what appears to be a truly damning report concerning the actions of senior officers responsible for the support of disabled children in a Welsh Health Board. The news story refers to ‘a breakdown in trust from families and demoralised staff’ and refers to an external review that took place as a result of ‘reports made to ITV News by families of disabled children who blew the whistle on management’ within the Board’s Children’s Community Nursing Services. The families claimed that – among other things – sanctions were imposed on them if they complained. The ITV news story can be accessed by clicking here.
A 2021 Department of Health and Social Care report compiled by the Chief Social Workers for Adults and the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, acknowledged that reports of this kind – of adverse consequences for families who disagreed with ‘practitioners about how their child’s behaviour could best be managed’ existed in England too.
What these reports demonstrate is that blaming the parents of disabled children – of locating the problems that result from a child’s impairment within the family – is a not an isolated problem. The toxic experiences of many parents of disabled children result from a systems failure: from a target driven neoliberal nightmare of a system, dominated by command and control managerialism and chronic underfunding.
 Chief Social Workers for Adults and the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families A spectrum of opportunity: an exploratory study of social work practice with autistic young adults and their families (Department of Health and Social Care 2021
Photograph of ‘Dinas Dinlle’ by Richard Jones -@lluniaurich
Posted 30 November 2021