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Issues » 2018/6 - Assessment in Social Work »

Zdeňka Adamčíková, Jana Bernoldová, Iva Strnadová

Formal Support of Parents with Intellectual/Mental Disabilities as Perceived by Social Workers


Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyse the system of formal support for parents with intellectual/mental disabilities, and the readiness of social workers to work with this population of parents. THEORETICAL BASE: The continuing deinstitutionalization and everincreasing opportunities for people with intellectual/mental disabilities to choose their way of life in mainstream society and live with partners urge us to explore whether the available support for them as parents is adequate. METHODS: There were 39 social workers who took part in the focus groups: social workers working at non-government organisations and child welfare workers. The focus groups were analysed using the content analysis approach. OUTCOMES: The findings reveal that professionals often conduct their work intuitively, without a wider knowledge of appropriate work techniques or methodological support. Furthermore, the set-up of the social services system does not correspond with the needs of these parents. The most glaring shortcoming is the absence of suitable residential and home-based services. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATION: The findings indicate that there is a need to improve the preparation of social workers by including the topic of parenting of people with intellectual/mental disabilities. Social workers need to learn about suitable ways of providing support to this population of parents.


Keywords:

intellectual/mental disabilities, parenthood, social workers, social services, child welfare




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