Promoting social support for vulnerable parents
Karen McKenzie Consultant clinical psychologist, NHS Borders
Rebecca Wade , Sure Start midwife in the Galashiels Social
Linda Davidson , Manages the Family Support Service of Scottish Borders Council
Karen McKenzie and colleagues describe an initiative in Scotland that is giving young mothers and fathers the skills and confidence to care for their babies
People with learning disabilities can be good parents, but they often have to carry out their roles without adequate support. This article suggests that parenting should be shared by society in general, and that vulnerable parents should have social support which does not undermine their confidence in their abilities. It describes an initiative in rural Scotland that provides antenatal and postnatal services for young mothers and fathers, some of whom have learning disabilities. Feedback from participants indicates that validation of their roles as parents is, to them, the most important factor. The authors suggest that a formal evaluation of the scheme is needed, together with research into long-term outcomes for parents and children.
Learning Disability Practice. 13, 4, 30-33. doi: 10.7748/ldp.13.4.30.s21