Child and family social workers’ experiences of working with parents who have intellectual disabilities

Lewis, Claire (2013). Child and family social workers’ experiences of working with parents who have intellectual disabilities. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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An increasing number of adults with an intellectual disability (ID) are having children. However, research suggests that they face an increased risk of having their children freed for adoption. Although parenting interventions have been found to be effective for parents with ID, such services are rarely offered. Research suggests that multiple factors impact upon child and family social workers decision making in this area, including personal experiences and attitudes. It was therefore thought that exploring social workers’ experiences of parents with ID might enable a greater understanding of why parents with ID face this increased risk. Interviews were carried out with seven child and family social workers who had experience of working on safeguarding cases where at least one parent had an ID. Data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis and five super-ordinate themes were identified. These were: ‘feeling torn’ between parents and their children; experiencing a ‘power imbalance’ between themselves, parents and the local authority; feeling ‘hopeless’; having a sense of ‘pride’ in their work; and experiencing ‘barriers’. The results are discussed in the context of the increased risk parents with ID face of losing custody of their children. Recommendations are made regarding clinical practice and future research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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