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Research warns Health and Social Care services failing disabled parents

Health and Social Care services are failing disabled parents and their children according to new research.

The study from the University of Bedfordshire warns that disabled parents are often seen as a risk to their children rather than given support - and concludes that professionals should offer help before families reach crisis point.

Fiona Denton Credit: ITV Anglia

Fiona Denton was diagnosed with a mental health condition before having her daughter 16 years ago.

As soon as she decided to become a mother she says she was suddenly under scrutiny

"I spoke to my psychiatrist and it was almost like permission giving. And my life becoming open to judgement, you should do this, you should do that and I think that was very different to the general population."

– Fiona Denton
Delegates at today's report launch Credit: ITV Anglia

When Fiona's mental health issues meant she needed support she says she was turned away.

"If you pitch up to adult services saying I need help with myself and my child you're told 'oh we don't do children.' So you pitch up to Children's Services, I need help with myself and my child and you're told 'oh we don't do adults.'

– Fiona Denton

Fiona was just one of the parents involved in a study by the University of Bedfordshire which concluded that Health and Social Care services are failing disabled parents and their children.

"There was a mother who was about to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. They were interested in checking that the house was locked, and that any pets were cared for and there was no reference to children. Her real concern about the needs of her children being met while she was unwell didn't seem to be recognised or heard and I think that's really concerning."

– Emily Munro, University of Bedfordshire
Delegates at today's report launch Credit: ITV Anglia

The report is calling for earlier support and a change in attitude so that those who need help aren't afraid to ask.

"Social workers are really caught between a rock and a hard place ultimately social workers have a duty to investigate where they feel there might be an issue but what I would say to social workers both coming into the profession and those who already work in children's social care is don't start with the deficits, go in and ask yourself, children have managed, the parents have managed to this point, what can you do to enhance that what can you do to keep this family together?"

– Maryam Zonouzi, Ginger Giraffe