Family lawyers to highlight the support needs of parents with learning difficulties
Press release issued: 15 November 2006
The support needs of parents with learning disabilities will be highlighted at a family lawyers conference later this week, together with the launch of a new national network for people working with parents with learning disabilities.
The Family Law Bar Association's (FLBA) conference is hosting a keynote presentation by CHANGE, a national organisation where parents with learning disabilities campaign nationally to raise awareness of their rights and the discrimination they face. The conference will be held in Manchester on Saturday 18 November.
An increasing number of adults with learning disabilities are becoming parents, but around half of them will lose their children through the courts. CHANGE will tell lawyers at the conference what support parents with learning disabilities need in order to stay together as a family.
Their presentation will focus on real life experiences of people with learning disabilities who have lost their children due to discriminatory child protection procedures. As the parents explained: "We are always judged on what we can't do. Respect us, support us, give us the chance to be parents."
Andrew Fox, barrister and conference organiser, added: "FLBA members are acutely aware of the issues facing adults with learning disabilities and hope to learn more from the presentation by CHANGE."
A new national network for people working with parents with learning disabilities will also be launched at the conference. The Working Together with Parents Network hopes to raise awareness of the support needs of parents with learning disabilities, share good practice and promote policy change at local and national level.
The Network is jointly run by CHANGE, and the University of Bristol's Norah Fry Research Centre. Funded by the Baring Foundation and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, membership of the Network is free to anyone interested in the issues faced by parents with learning disabilities. Benefits include a website, opportunities for information exchange, regular email updates and free training and networking events.
Ruth Townsley, the Network Co-ordinator and Senior Research Fellow at Bristol University's Norah Fry Research Centre, said: "We hope that the Working Together with Parents Network will raise awareness of the discrimination faced by parents with learning disabilities and support professionals to find ways to provide better support to keep parents and children together as families."