A society in which all communities and people are free from family violence

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RFVP Disability Inclusion and Safety Resource Hub

Supporting parents with disability involved with Child Protection

The Disability Inclusion and Safety Resource Hub has been developed for organisations and practitioners who are working with people with disability who are experiencing or using family violence. 

The Resource Hub provides ready access to important resources that promote safety, accessibility, equity and inclusion of people with disability which can aid in reducing barriers and increasing safety.  Resources are relevant to Organisational Leaders, Specialist Family Violence and Sexual Assault Practitioners, Disability Services, Health, Family Support, Education and others.


Family Violence can often be one of a number of presenting factors in reports to Child Protection, with exposure to family violence having significant and profound impact upon children and young people.

Australian and international research over several decades has also identified that parents with disability are over-represented as subjects of child protection allegations, investigations and proceedings. Parents, particularly mothers, with psychosocial disability appear to constitute
the largest cohort of parents with disability engaged by child protection systems.

Research however has consistently shown it is not intellectual disability itself that impacts negatively on parenting capacity, but social conditions and beliefs that devalue people with disability. Parents with intellectual disability also face the challenges of a lack of accessible information, poor early engagement by services and lack of cross-agency collaboration. Without a mainstream child and family workforce that is disability-aware and skilled, parental behaviours and capabilities can be misinterpreted and critical support needs missed. Fear of judgement and dissatisfaction with available support also reduces help seeking by parents with intellectual disability. As a result, these families often come to the attention of professionals when they are in crisis situation is compounded by the inability of siloed service systems to respond to complex and interacting needs.

Parents with intellectual disability then receive differential treatment; parenting capacity is often questioned, and resources are not invested in keeping families together.

Source: Best practice guidance – Parenting support for parents with intellectual disability

This section provides resources to assist practitioners in referral pathways to support parents with intellectual disability involved with the child protection system.

A number of Disability Advocacy Services are specialized in empowering people with disability who are involved with the Child Protection System. This is an important support for parents with disability. See also Disability Advocacy and Self Advocacy Section.


Best practice guidance - Parenting support for parents with intellectual disability

About this resource: Parents with intellectual disability face the challenges of a lack of accessible information, poor early engagement by services and lack of cross-agency collaboration.  

Without a mainstream child and family workforce that is disability-aware and skilled, parental behaviours and capabilities can be misinterpreted and critical support needs missed.  

Fear of judgement and dissatisfaction with available support also reduces help seeking by parents with intellectual disability.  

As a result, these families often come to the attention of professionals when they are in crisis situation is compounded by the inability of siloed service systems to respond to complex and interacting needs.  

Parents with intellectual disability then receive differential treatment; parenting capacity is often questioned, and resources are not invested in keeping families together.  

The resource outlines best practice guidance and considerations for a collaborative and multi-agency response to parenting support for parents with Intellectual Disability.  

Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies 

Applying this resource: A resource for organisations and professionals working with parents who have intellectual disability. 

When Child Protection Visits – An Easy Read Booklet for Parents

About this resource: The Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) has written this booklet to assist parents to understand what to expect if Child Protection visits their home due to
concerns for safety of their children.
 

Applying this resource: A resource for parents or carers with disability involved in the Child Protection System in Victoria.  

Steps to Speaking Up - Important things to know about the Child Protection system for parents with disabilities in Victoria

About this resource: Produced by VALID and FINV, the aim of this booklet is assist parents with disability understand how the child protection system works and how the Children’s Court becomes involved. It aims to give provide information in an accessible way to assist parents with disability work with the child
protection workers to create best outcomes for children, parents and families. 

Applying this resource: For people with disability involved with the Child Protection system and practitioners

Research Report - Care Criminalisation of Children with Disability in Child Protection

About this resource:

Though it has been long known that children in child protection systems face a higher risk of becoming criminalised,1 few studies, particularly in Australia, have focused on children with disability at the intersection of the child protection and youth justice systems. 

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (The Disability Royal Commission) commissioned this research to improve understanding of the pathways that lead children with disability from their contact with child protection system to entering the criminal justice system. The research also looked at how effective interventions were that tried to prevent these pathways to the justice system for children with disability in child protection systems. 

The research highlighted the key Factors associated with increased and decreased chance of criminalisation of children with disability in child protection systems at an individual, familial, environmental, systemic and structural levels.    

Applying this resource: For organisations and practitioners.    

Research Report - Parents with disability and their experiences of child protection system

About this resource: This research sought to improve understanding of the experiences of parents with disability of Australian child protection systems, paying particular attention to the experiences of First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse parents with disability.   

Applying this resource: For organisations and practitioners.  

Safe and Together Insititute

About this resource: The Safe & Together™ Model was developed by David Mandel in the United States. The model helps child welfare systems to become better partners to adult survivors and their children, and to intervene more effectively with perpetrators.

The growing body of data on the model shows that it helps keep children safely with their protective parent, reduces victim blaming and changes the way practitioners work with the entire family.

The Safe and Together Institute Website offers training and resources for professionals offering family violence informed practice, which supports child well-being and safety while maintaining focus and positioning responsibility for family violence upon the person using violence. 

Applying this resource: For organisations and practitioners.  

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