Family and Disability Studies Initiative

Support Needs and Service Pathways

Support needs and service pathways of parents with intellectual impairment

This new study aims to determine a solution to two inter-related problems for human services in Quebec and Alberta. One problem is that we currently lack the requisite knowledge to 'make good' on our commitment under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to "eliminate discrimination against..." and "render appropriate assistance to..." parents with intellectual impairment "in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities" (Article 23). The second problem is that there is no provincial or national strategy at present to translate extant knowledge about parents and parenting with intellectual impairment into the planning and delivery of more effective parenting and family supports. As a result of these two problems, children of parents with intellectual impairment are at increased risk of developmental delay, accidents and injuries, and behaviour problems; and, they are ten to fifteen times more likely than their peers to be apprehended by child and youth protection authorities and permanently placed out-of-home.

The purpose of this study is to determine a strategy to build systems’ capacity to accommodate the support and learning needs of parents with intellectual impairment and, in turn, improve the life chances of their children. One objective is to investigate the support needs and service utilization patterns of parents with intellectual impairment. The study will highlight strengths upon which to build (e.g., established inter-agency working relationships), as well as service gaps and other systems’ capacity building needs. A second objective is to map systems' capacity building needs and determine a strategy to build systems' capacity for parents with intellectual impairment and their children.

This project is partially supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.