Cerebra Pro Bono Research Programme publish report on 'Institutionalising parent carer blame'

The Cerebra LEaP Project publishes a yearly report which aims to raise awareness and bring about practical change in the law, public policy and practice concerning the rights of disabled children.

The programme is an opportunity for School of Law students to be involved in research that helps to benefit the lives of disabled children and their families. It is open to students in their first year and above.

This year, the Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem-solving (LEaP) Project, led by Professor Luke Clements with the support of Dr Ana Laura Aiello, focused on the experiences of disabled children and their families with the process of social care needs assessments. Students analysed a survey run by Cerebra, a children’s charity, on “parent carers’ experiences of ‘child in need’ assessments for disabled children, as well as searching for local assessment protocols on local authorities’ websites”. In total, 48 student researchers took part in the project and contributed to the Institutionalising parent carer blame research report.

The report “finds that most English Children’s Services Authorities operate a ‘one size-fits-all’ approach to families – regardless of whether it is a parent carer seeking support for a disabled child or a family where the evidence suggests there to be neglect or abuse. The effect of this approach is to create an institutional culture of ‘parent blame’”.

Findings from the report have been utilised by disability and social care organisations. BBC News online published the article Families with disabled children 'face blame culture' when seeking help as well as featuring findings from the report in a segment aired on BBC Look North.

Read the full report.