4.2 Can I get help if I am disabled?

Mothers with a disability are entitled to extra support. (Help for disabled children comes under Section 17, see 4.1.) 

You have a right to support from Adult Social Care under the Care Act 2014 [20] if you need help to look after your child/ren because you have a physical or learning disability or long-term illness.

You can ask Adult Social Care to assess your needs. However, during an assessment, they may decide that you’re too disabled to care for your children and start a child protection investigation under Section 47. We know a number of disabled mums who faced having their children removed after approaching social services for help.  So think carefully before you ask for an assessment and always be prepared to record and have a reliable witness with you when talking to any social worker. That is the only protection you have if false allegations are made against you. 

For those assessed with a ‘borderline’ learning disability, there is a further catch: social workers may say the disability is not ‘bad enough’ to qualify for support, but is bad enough to claim that the mother/parents won’t or can’t look after their children properly. Social services don’t prioritise putting resources into enabling mothers with learning or other disabilities to keep their children – they would rather take children away and put them up for adoption as early as possible. This amounts to blatant disability discrimination and can be challenged successfully but you must be on guard and protect yourself throughout this process. 

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