Parent Participation has been an integral way of working for fSDC. The Coalition is chaired by a parent, Willie, who has been involved with fSDC since its inception in 2007.
Participation is a way of working and it happens when parents have conversations with, and work alongside, professionals, in order to design, develop and improve services. The conversations benefit everyone.
Working with parents helps professionals to understand what needs to happen to develop services that meet families’ needs.
Working with professionals helps parents understand the complexities involved and the challenges faced by the professionals who have to bring about changes to services. To find out more about this approach go to Contact (formerly Contact a Family) website by clicking on this link Contact
Continued development of the West Lothian Parent Carer Forum
Scottish Government are continuing to support the development of parent participation work. Parents who attended the training and meetings in the pilot project have created the West Lothian Parent Carer Alliance. They have developed a shared purpose – a forum of parents and carers living in West Lothian caring for children and young people aged 0-25 living with disabilities. They are creating their website to inform other parents about their approach to working with professionals to bring about change.
fSDC submitted their Parent Participation Pilot Project Report to Scottish Government and the Getting Started Guide, demonstrating the work of the project. The approved proposal to grow the membership of the forum and work towards its future sustainability, is being taken forward by the forum steering group members and Contact, to develop the approach of parents working with professionals to continually improve services for disabled children and young people.
Pilot project in West Lothian (October 2016 to March 2017)
This six month pilot from October 2016 to March 2017, grew out of previous fSDC parent participation work and conversations with parents in West Lothian over summer of 2016. This fSDC project has been supported by Scottish Government, Children and Families Directorate.
Parents interested in learning and working to develop a parent carer forum have been meeting each month and have been supported by fSDC members Signpost and Contact a Family . Parents are having conversations and training with professionals from a number of services in West Lothian Council including Social Work Child Disability Service, Library Service, Transport, Speech & Language and Community Engagement. fSDC members, Signpost and Contact a Family, have facilitated the delivery of this pilot project. Scottish Government have supported the pilot. The forum want to look at improving the information needs for parents and families and on improving the services families access or could be accessing.
The newly establishing forum in it’s first stages have been creating a ‘steering group’ and connecting with parents and parent groups across West Lothian. Their first major piece of work together in consultation with the lead professionals of social work child disability service was to collect the views of parents on the summer holiday activities for their children. They have produced a draft report on parents views and will be sharing this with a range of services as well as parents across West Lothian.
The pilot project report will be submitted to Scottish Government in April 2017, to demonstrate the difference the approach can bring to the improvement of services. If you would like to learn more about fSDC parent participation work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In partnership with Children in Scotland (CiS)
fSDC co-ordination group members, lead by Marion McLeod, Children in Scotland policy manager worked with fSDC members and held events with with and carried out meetings with local authority collagues from Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and West Lothian. Parents attended 6 events over 2015/16 to learn about parent particiation and discuss services their experiences of services in their local area. Coalition members including Action for Sick Children, Signpost, Family Fund, Keys to Inclusion, Enable and Contact a Family worked with CiS to develop events and help facilitate discussions with parents interested in improving services for families with disabled children. This work supported by Scottish Government also included a number of surveys carried out with parents and it also produced a guide for parents on services in Scotland.
Children in Scotland and fSDC member Action for Sick Children produced this guide and a copy can be download by clicking on this link guide .
The parents and professionals in West Lothian were keen to learn more about parent participation and develop a forum of parents to meet and work with professionals. fSDC members supported the development of the West Lothian parent pariticipation pilot set out above.