Working together to support disabled parents

Involving parents in developing protocols and parent support services

Parents have a key role to play in developing protocols and designing and delivering services. Their involvement is particularly important in ensuring that procedures and services are accessible and non-stigmatising. They also have an important contribution to make to monitoring and evaluating the implementation of protocols.

Involving parents is the key to success

The involvement of parents helps in a number of ways:

Facilitating parents’ involvement

No one parent can represent the range of experiences and views of all parents covered by the protocols, so a range of views should be sought. However, many parents have valuable insights about the commonalities between different groups who experience difficulty in accessing services.

Parents with additional requirements are drawn from sections of the community whose points of view are seldom heard. It will therefore be necessary for local authorities to make particular and continuing efforts to involve these under-represented groups.

Contacting parents

Relevant local support organisations and peer support groups concerned with disability issues and particular impairments and also those designed to support parents and families should be approached in the first instance. Particular attention should be paid to involving groups of parents who rarely find themselves consulted, such as parents with drug- and alcohol-related problems, mental health difficulties and parents from underrepresented local ethnic minorities.

A creative approach is needed to approach parents who tend not to be involved in existing voluntary organisations (whether oriented around disability or parenting) and whose views are seldom heard. Some parents who are currently service users may be keen to be part of the consultation and feedback process.

This guide provides details of the following national organisations which may be able to facilitate contact with individuals and or groups:

A range of impairment-specific and other disability organisations are also listed. In addition, the parent and family support organisations listed in the resource section may be able to supply local contacts.