Research Output
An Evaluation of a Family-centred Support Service for Children with a Significant Learning Disability
  Services for families caring for a child with a learning disability are changing to become more family-centred, focusing not only on the child’s needs but on those of the whole family. An evaluation of a newly developed Families Project in one Health and Social Service Trust area in Northern Ireland aimed to identify the impact on parents and ways in which it could become more effective. The use of person-centred planning tools by the project was of particular interest. A mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. Families participating in the project (n/19) were contrasted with two other groups of parents recruited from the same Health and Social Services Trust (n/25) and from an area served by a different Health and Social Services Trust (n/25). Parents were interviewed at home on two occasions, 12 months apart. Participating parents spoke
highly of the project and reported benefits to their child, to themselves and to the other children in the family. In comparison with the other two parent groups, they had significantly higher scores on a measure of family functioning and reported greater levels of support. However, there were no improvements on measures of parental health and stress. The use of volunteer helpers allied with accessing community resources had opened up new forms of activities for the young people while offering respite breaks to families. Person-centred planning was welcomed by most, but not all, families, and greater efforts may have to be made by the Project if the personal needs of certain parents are to be met. Improvements are noted when undertaking future evaluations.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 October 2006

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Informa UK Limited

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    616.8 Nervous & mental disorders

  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Truesdale-Kennedy, M., McConkey, R., Ferguson, P., & Roberts, P. (2006). An Evaluation of a Family-centred Support Service for Children with a Significant Learning Disability. Child Care in Practice, 12(4), 377-390.



Learning disability, social services, person-centred planning tools, community

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