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Fostering Children With Disabilities

(This service is currently only available in Wales)

Pathway Care recognises that raising a child with disabilities can be extremely rewarding, but also accept it that it is not without its difficulties. Parents often have to give up time for themselves; have difficulties finding time to spend with other children, and may have limited time to nurture their marriage or significant relationship. In addition if a parent becomes overwhelmed by the care of their disabled child then the risk factors to both child and parent(s) may be significantly increased. Recognising these factors Pathway Care Children with Disability Service has been specifically developed to deliver a comprehensive program of care to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities and their families.

The service is underpinned by a person centred approach which is both flexible and holistic; recognising that each child is an individual with their own unique personality and aspirations. Pathway Care always strives to promote the values of recognising individual differences and challenging discrimination whilst providing all possible support to help children and young people develop to their full potential.

The majority of children who benefit from the Children with Disabilities Service will have learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities, very particular medical requirements or may even have a life limiting illness.

Pathway Care’s disability service has been developed to assist Local Authorities meet the governments "Aiming High for Disabled Children Agenda" in England, and in Wales the "We are on the Way" agenda. Pathway care’s disability services include

  • Short Break Care within a specific and regular foster placement

  • Short, medium and long term placements with experienced foster carers who respect and support birth family contact.

  • Specialist and intensive support to foster carers by experienced and qualified staff.

  • Independent life skill training to assist with transition to adulthood

  • Care provision tailored to meet individual needs of a child placed

Short Break Care

Pathway Care Short Break Care provides the opportunity for a child with disabilities to have regular stays away from the family. The child benefits from being given the opportunity to become linked with a foster family, where the child will have an opportunity to enjoy the company and join in the activities of another family on a regular basis. This will also give the family who care for a child with disabilities a chance for a regular break to enjoy activities which might not be possible for a child with disabilities to enjoy or fully participate in, or might simply provide the family with an opportunity to recharge their batteries.

The service carefully matches and links children with disabilities with specific foster carers who can provide periods of short term care, ranging from an overnight stay, to a few days to meet the child’s assessed needs on a regular basis. The duration of the short breaks will always strive to be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of the child and family.

Short, Medium and Long Term Foster Care for Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities, ranging from babies to teenagers may be placed with foster carers for diverse reasons and for variety of time periods. Sometimes parents may be unable to offer permanent care for their children, and longer-term foster care placements are needed.

Pathway Care’s disability service offers children and young people with disabilities the opportunity to become part of a family who are equipped to respond to their individual care needs. This will include carers who have the potential to;

  • Provide care to children with limited mobility for example wheelchair accessibility, downstairs bedrooms and toilets.

  • Provide care to children who have significant personal care needs.

  • Provide care to children with life limiting illnesses.

All foster cares within this service have been specifically recruited and trained to ensure that the individual needs of the children placed within this service are fully met. Carers are supported to develop specific skills, for example communication skills or medical skills that are appropriate to meet the individual needs of the child placed with them. These foster carers are supported by a qualified social worker who has experience working within the field of child disability services, and have access to a specialist foster carers support group.

Pathway Care recognise the difficulty faced by children during the difficult transition from children’s to Adult Social Services and are committed to playing an active part in transitional planning. Both the foster carers and Pathway Care’s supporting social worker fully participate in working in partnership with all relevant parties to develop and implement effective transitional planning.

Pathway Care aims to provide a discreet service to meet the need of children with disabilities. The service listens and responds to the children’s expressed needs; promotes their full integration into society, and provides care, whether this be short breaks or longer term foster care which will fully meet their diverse needs, ensuring that each child has the stimulation and support to enable them to reach their full potential. In addition Pathway Care will continue to and/or help children with disabilities challenge any discrimination encountered.