The prevalence and outcomes of care proceedings involving parents with learning difficulties in the family courts

Author: Booth, T.; Booth, W.; McConnell, D.
Year: 2005
Reference Type: Journal Article
Journal/Book Title: Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume: 18
Issue: 1
Pages: 42917
Abstract: Background: Parents with learning difficulties are known to face a high risk of losing their children. This paper reports findings from a study designed to throw light on the numbers of parents with learning difficulties and their children coming before the Family Courts in Children Act proceedings and what happened to them as a result. Method: The paper presents descriptive information on the characteristics of the parents and children, the basis of professional concerns in these cases, and details of the final outcomes and placement decisions extracted from a documentary review of court files. Results: Parents with learning difficulties were found to be disproportionately represented in care proceedings and their children were significantly more likely to be freed for adoption than the children of any other group of parents. Conclusions: On the basis of the research evidence, parents with learning difficulties appear to be treated more harshly because of their disability, raising the question of the interface between disability discrimination legislation and the Children Act in such cases.

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