This study paper looks at British social work and specifically concentrates on adult disabilities and tries to answer the question on whether assessment and management of risk in social work with disabled adults can be described as a complex and problematic phenomenon.
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A number of materials-books and journals will be used during the research of this subject. The utter generality of the ongoing cultural debate about organizations and personification has predestined that all facets, phase, or parts of social work have been influenced by it and the UK has not been left behind as its impact has certainly not been confined to those working in the new ‘adults’ social services departments.
Assessment and management of risk in social work with disabled adults can be described as a complex and problematic phenomenon
Social workers as professionals are required to be persons who are strong willed and have the desire to be of assistance in the improvement of other people’s lives especially those with disabilities. For that reason, social work as a professional career for any individual entails provision of help, provision of solutions to personal problems such as personal, family and relationship matters to people in their everyday lives.
Furthermore, social workers are also involved in providing help to disabled people, or persons dealing with life threatening or fatal diseases and cases where social problems come into play such as drug abuse and unemployment. Consequently, social workers wind up being connected with or participating in research studies either as subjects or conductors of the study itself, advocates for an improvement of services and policy development/planning involvement (Priestley 2003).
In essence, social work is concerned with providing and making available their services to a specific target populace. They are by and large, concentrated in diverse areas of practice in relation to a person’s inclination and capability. The areas of expertise found under social work fall under political, mental health, elderly, slums dwellers, medical and education. If they have the right State mandated license, these workers are referred to as licensed clinical social workers in spite of whichever setting they are in (Oliver & Sapey 2006).
During the last decade, the viewpoints and principles of the Independent Living Movement have had a considerable power to influence people’s perceptions or deeds by way of dispute, for example, or vigor of character in regard to social work in the area of adult disability.
A shift in practice has been observed from establishment of clients who are reliant on services offered by professionals, to formation of working partnerships with the disabled people in question. This is happening so as to be able to secure the rights of adults with disabilities to be recognized as equivalent citizens of a state (Thomas 2003).
Notwithstanding the shift observed in the last ten years or so, there has also been a substantial sudden increase of attention being heaped on the health, well-being and the embodiment of the nature of social experience (Oliver 1990).
These signs can be witnessed just about everywhere around us. Intellectuals round the world have been engaged in debates over the nature, implication and reason of human life for taking place as the ‘Darwinian theory versus the bible’ debates of the late 19th century have somehow also engaged debates about the connection between humankind and the human body.
These debates take up a scientific, philosophical and theological dimension. Simultaneously, balancing, holistic, mind or body psychotherapies are more and more becoming common. In the UK, media stations have diverted much attention to more attractive reports like corpulence, ‘size zero’ models and celebrities drug abuse (Thomas 2003).
A study/inspection of social services carried out by the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) shows that only an eighth of the eight departments surveyed had a plan definite for the disabled adults. The inspection carried out was to assess the services and help offered to support parenting roles of adults with disabilities (Warren 2007).
This led to recommendations being put forward on shifting the outlook in approach of provision of services to working with the disabled persons by recognizing their right to be offered support to accomplish their responsibilities as parents. In addition to this, strategy and policy development to improve ‘joined-up working’ across adults’ and children’s service divisions and between agencies were to be formed.
The 2007 UNICEF report on children in the UK and the USA, reveal the position children occupy to be at the bottom of the list in developed countries in conditions where a range of indicators of health and well-being were in play. Sizeable soul-searching by observers has been motivated in the path of which ‘wellbeing and happiness’ became bundled to nearly all aspects of becoming adults in the society, including offenses, cruelty, the impoverishment of children and the apparent ‘break-down’ of family ties.
There was appeal for information-specified parents who had bodily and sensory incapacitation and or parents with learning incapacitations to evade replicating functions done by the National Institute of Social Work.
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In respond to this, in 2002 the Rowntree Foundation set up a task force named, Supporting Disabled Adults In Their Parenting Role, to survey and try to shed some light on how many social services departments in Britain had policies and protocols that covered disabled adults (parents) and how far they were likely to address anxiety raised by the inspectors and by disabled parents (Johnstone 2001).
The responses obtained from about 125 departments visited showed that thirty one of these departments had policies still in draft forms or early stage of implementation. An additional twenty nine departments were either in the process of laying down policies or were planning to do so. On the other hand, sixty three of the departments had no immediate plans to come up with policies. This clearly shows a worrying trend in provision of social services to adults with disabilities (Brown 2003).
Assessment carried out on children alone and not on disable parents and their entitlement to social service provision, can turn out to portray the children as ‘in need’ or ‘at risk’ or as ‘young carers’ (Rapley 2004). Although social services departments are aware that disabled adults are wary of approaching social services for support with parenting, they more than often seem to be taking few measures to allay these fears.
The Community Care legislation was introduced to support social services, together with provision of support to disabled adults to fulfill their parenting roles and responsibilities.
This is weighed down by a persistent complexity brought about by policies and protocols, which indicated that where parenting roles are left out of eligibility criterion for Community Care services, disabled parents would either not reach the threshold for receiving Community Care services or would not receive the extra attention necessary to meet parenting needs as well as personal needs (Shakespeare 2006).
The fairly less attention put on Community Care legislation and the role of provision of professional support to adults with disabilities compounded with the importance on children’s legislation, may suggest an easy slip away from the agenda of providing support for disabled adults in their parenting role and be replaced with alarms over children’s welfare.
Making certain that participation between professional social workers with adults with disabilities the whole time contact with the family is maintained, as well as cases where concerns of child protection may arise, provides for the best opportunity of guaranteeing stability of support being given to the parent and a better relationship between disabled parents and social services (Williams 2006).
Most of these policies articulated clear and precise objectives to provide and support disabled parenting. Nonetheless, the legislative routes to be utilized were not very clear.
This was particularly obvious in regards to adult community care legislation. The report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found out that just about two-thirds of those that responded adult based social workers. However, in terms of the documented plans and procedures, reference to children laws together with children protection actions were usually many, explicit and potent. Unlike references to adult laws and regulation, which were normally dispersed and diffuse.
Social workers have in recent times become more occupied with challenge of how to smooth the progress of movement from ‘structured dependency’ to ‘the realization of human rights’ (Oliver 1990). The disability and equality act 2010 that replaced the disability discrimination Act defines a person with disability as one who suffers from physical or mental impairment and if it has a substantially long term adverse effect on them.
Buoyant due to the views that social service demands an enabling of adults with disabilities to accomplish their everyday tasks and roles linked to their quality of life; researchers into social work and its dynamics are questioning the basics about the evaluation. For instance, on the basis of their work with young people, many of whom had complex health care needs, which Gates (2006) argues that there should be a new ‘outcomes-focused practice’.
Provided that the formation of assessment models is based on the notions of ‘need’, they will continue to be in conflict with the new attitude of ‘personalized social care’. To support this, studies go on to point out the course of action in identifying ‘needs’ without a doubt engages prejudiced judgments on the part of the professionals concerned. This subjectivity is argued that it creates a professional ‘problematic’ concept.
Developing a model or framework for health and disability necessitates a foundation of positive vision with the sole function of embracing hopes, aspirations and quality of life rather than looking to only deal with short term problems and shortfalls.
Engaging of older people together with professionals in the redesigning of models of health and social risks and needs appraisal and assessment proved to be productive. It shows that the accessible expertise could be customized (at a conceptual level) to produce a mechanism that has the potential of improving adults with disabilities access to social services and information.
Studies and researches carried out on health; show an interrelation between health and disability. The UK among others has recently come up with policies and legislations in an attempt to extend disability rights, outlaw discrimination on the basis of disability and fight some of the most apparent types of stereotypical social exclusion.
British social work has transformed into social care service providers with an aim of providing ‘accessible’ and ‘person-oriented’ attention, though there have been several efforts to breakdown synthetic obstacles between health and social care professionals.
The nineties saw the United Kingdom come up with premeditated models of assessment on a needs-led principle assessment meant to ensure social care services were integral to adults with disabilities rather than the other way around. This idea should therefore have amplified the position of evaluation of administration of risk in social care organization development with the goal of autonomous alliance with the social representation of disability. However as commonly perceived, this has not been occurring due to the concept of ‘need’.
It is worthy noting that the principle of assessment goes further than just simply being in contention that social workers need to pay attention to what disabled service users desire. This approach to assessment is entirely quite new. Its application in health and disability does not sort out the desires and perceptions of service users say through the idea of ‘need’.
By and large, this principle has been expressed as an ‘outcomes-focused’ form of assessment whose foundation is hinged on the initiative of exploring together with adults with disabilities the wouldesired outcomes’ that would really have an effect on their day to day lives and then utilizing these wouldesired outcomes’ as a focus point of carrying out assessment.
These assessments can only be carried out through a partnership with the service users and complete consultation from other qualified persons, as they would necessitate a variety of diverse responses from a large assortment of organizations. As a result, option, empowerment and coalition might in reality be fully realized as a means of evaluation (Rothman 2004).
At this moment in time, the outcomes assessment model is immature and is beset by a myriad of apparent problems. It is neither clear how ‘preferred outcomes’ can be fixed into a legal structure of enforceable privileges; nor is it visible how or if the evils connected with the allotment of inadequate services will be influenced by the end objective. Nonetheless, the new model has already changed the way in which discussions of evaluation perceptions are approved despite its present representation state (Hodges 2003; Leslie 2004).
As it might be expected, there are various developing debates which indicate feasible results expressed in our minds by the ‘outcomes for children’ model. The focal point of every child is important, and recognized as government efforts to re-conceptualize specialized performance among social workers that shares to the set out progressive series of effect for children and young people alike.
In addition, an exceptionally essential discrepancy between the proposal for an ‘outcomes-oriented’ application in the health and disability discipline and the ‘outcomes for children’ noted in ‘Every Child Matters’ is evident. Until now, no-one has been able to advocate for ‘outcomes’ for adults with disabilities.
Whilst there is continuous debate and uncertainty whether the assessment and management of risk in social work with disabled adults results to being a complex and problematic phenomenon the possibility for a holistic, well-timed and suitable family support from the family by social workers can only be realized where an understanding of the role of supporting parents in safeguarding the welfare of their children is in place and probable actions are undertaken to maintain the right of disabled adults to receiving of assistance to their parenting tasks and responsibilities. There is growing concern around the world on meeting the needs of disabled adults in a harmonized way.
Nevertheless, unanswered concerns regarding the most suitable way to widen work across adults’ and children’s divisions still abound. The 2002 study carried out by the Rowntree foundation clearly shows a worrying trend in provision of social services to adults with disabilities. In addition, to this a study carried out by the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI), also found out the trend among social services department of not having drawn up specific policy plans that were particularly tailored to provide social services to disabled adults.
In light of this scenario, assessment and management of risk in social work with disabled adults could and can be described as a complex and problematic phenomenon, due to the dynamics involved, but is very necessary so as to avoid persistence of child poverty and the perceived ‘breakdown’ of family life in addition to cases of lack of provision of social services to disabled adults resulting to a concern for child protection.
Recognizing the barriers created by social care services and how they can be identified is a sure way of making certain that assessment is not turned into an unrecognizable phenomenon.
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