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2004 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 9, No. 2
January 2004

What These Parents Want in Support Services

Although there is no substitute for asking each family individually what they want, child welfare workers might find it helpful to know that many parents with cognitive disabilities say they experience the following as effective support from professionals:

  • Build a trusting, mutual relationship with parents.
  • Acknowledge the parent’s role as head of household.
  • Appreciate the love between parent and child, despite the problems.
  • Offer sustained, practical support directed toward building the parent’s own skills and confidence.
  • Match the family with support personnel who have a genuine liking for the family.
  • Recognize the emotional needs of parents, and build parents’ confidence.
  • Mobilize community supports; connect with other agencies involved with a family.
  • Integrate formal services with the support and involvement available from the extended family, neighbors, and friends.
  • Turn to the parent to determine the most effective direction for support.
  • Develop an advocacy role representing the family to the service system, rather than presenting oneself to the family as an agent of the system.

Sources: Mandeville, 1998; Booth & Booth, 1994.

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