Lead Organisation: Conwy County Borough Council
The emotional, physical, and social well-being of children with disabilities is important to Conwy County Borough Council.
We want to make sure they have all the support they need when they need it. Part of our team is the Family Disability Worker (FDW). This is a new role focusing on stepping in early to support parents and carers of children with a disability.
We wanted to check the difference this role was making so we asked Dr Ceryl Teleri Davies, from Bangor University to do this evaluation.
The evaluation found lots of different things including:
- Delays in getting a specialist neurodevelopment diagnosis affected the whole family. It meant they had to deal with behaviour that caused harm to their child’s wellbeing.
- Dealing with these behaviours left families feeling socially excluded and isolated.
- Families often faced challenges like poor housing, overcrowding and poverty.
- When services worked together to give support it had a big impact on the well-being outcomes for the whole family.
There were similar needs identified across the families:
- Learning needs and diagnosis of a learning disability
- Speech and language issues, including communication issues
- Low mood and mental health concerns
- Self-harm and suicide thoughts
- Significant behaviours of concern.
- Stigma, shame, social exclusion, and social isolation
- Money needs including for equipment and help with benefit forms
- Challenges for parents/carers to gain and maintain employment.
The key theme is that the practical and emotional support offered and provided to parents/carers by the Family Disability Worker enhances parental ability to manage everyday stresses. They help families access services and address their own well-being needs.
The empowerment and person-centred advocacy offered in a bespoke manner by the Family Disability Worker had proven to address a long-standing gap in services.
The outcomes for these families have been positive for their overall well-being, often supporting them to address and remove long-standing barriers.
The Family Disability Worker was also clearly described as focusing on strength-based practice, offering support that built on the capabilities of each family.