Journal Article

The Characteristics of Children with a Disability Looked After away from Home and their Future Service Needs

Roy McConkey, Theresa Nixon, Elizabeth Donaghy and Donna Mulhern

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 4, pages 561-576
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch066
The Characteristics of Children with a Disability Looked After away from Home and their Future Service Needs

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Little is known about the characteristics of children with disabilities who meet the British legal definition of ‘looked after’ children. Data were obtained on 108 such children living within one geographical area in Northern Ireland and who spent 90 days or more in a 12-month period living away from the family home. However, this figure may under-estimate the numbers, given the difficulties in tracking children aged over 14 years who were admitted to hospitals on a short- or long-term basis. The median age of the children was 14 years; most had learning disabilities allied with challenging behaviours, communication difficulties, autism and some were technologically dependent. Many of their families experienced a range of problems. One-third of the children were accommodated in various residential settings but half of these placements were in hospital or adult residential accommodation. However, there were marked differences in the services provided to this client group by the four provider agencies. Future service needs included increased respite breaks for families and the provision of both more residential placements and more appropriate accommodation, especially for teenagers. The dilemmas in reconciling the need for local, but specialized, service provision are discussed.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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