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Fathers with learning disabilities and their experiences of adult social care services

With the right support, parents with learning disabilities can bring up their children in a caring and loving environment, but how this support is best provided is debated. Good practice guidelines recommend that adults’ and children’s services are joined up to support parents with learning disabilities, and Think Family guidance recommends that adults’ as well as children’s services should work with family members to improve outcomes for children. The Care Act 2014 recently introduced an eligibility outcome for adults in relation to their caring responsibilities for a child. However, most of what is known in this field focuses on and reflects the experiences of mothers.

The research reported here focused on fathers with learning disabilities to hear their own experiences of being fathers and their experiences of adult social care services. To understand some of the issues related to practice, we also spoke to practitioners in adult learning disability services about working with fathers.