Essay Example on People with disabilities particularly Children

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In light of the challenges faced by people with disabilities particularly children the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministries of Health and Child Care Primary and Secondary Education and that of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare and UNICEF have launched the first ever national flagship report called Living Conditions Among Persons with Disability UNICEF 2015 According to The Children s Act 5 06 policy in Child Rights and Child Care for Caregivers in Zimbabwe The Ministry of Labour and Social Services was founded on the premise that the care of frail people and those with learning disabilities would be a joint responsibility for health and social care professionals known as Probation Officers supported by people within their social networks The policy assumes that such social networks are common features of all communities in contemporary Zimbabwe containing a reserve of people who can be called upon to provide support to carers The existing literature on social support networks in poor communities is based largely on the nature of kinship ties between and within generations Ahmad Atkin 1996 focuses on issues such as who in the kinship network is most likely to be approached for help and levels of satisfaction with the support that is available and provided Over the last couple of years in Zimbabwe there has been a growing awareness of the needs of caregivers in general as demonstrated by the growth of the Public Service and Social Welfare policy initiatives and a burgeoning of research on 



Caregivers Previous policy statements had generally mentioned caregivers but they tended to bracket them with the people they care for In terms of practice Ellis 1993 found that community care assessments tended to take for granted the existence of a family member as unpaid caregiver caregivers had no legal right to an assessment of their own needs However the crucial point is that assessments had to be asked for Sometimes they would be offered but if they were specifically requested the social services department had a legal obligation to provide although the obligation isn t there if they are not requested Therefore this obviously had its problems since not many people know the intricacies of social care legislation Ellis 1993 According to a UNICEF report there is a lack by government schools in Zimbabwe to cater for disabled children There are limited resources especially for language and communication Children actually graduate with degrees and diplomas in special care from universities lacking language skills The report also states that most parents cannot afford privately run schools with facilities for the disabled Hence this pauses a threat to caregivers According to Scourfield 2005 the reason why there is a lack of consistency in caregiver assessments is that there is a common emphasis of bureaucratic incompetence An example is the failure by Social Services Departments to provide information to caregivers about their rights The scarcity of resources is a theme that permeates most explanations While these explanations certainly have some validity one can argue that for many practitioners the very nature of the relationship with caregivers is a problematic one containing several interrelated areas of confusion ambiguity and tension that often go unacknowledged particularly by policy makers politicians and senior managers whose ideas about caregivers are often based on idealisations of what a caregiver is Scourfield 2005 



Campaigning for the rights of people with disabilities in particular by groups or organisations such as National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped NASCOH the representative Mr Farai Mukuta said persons with disabilities continue to be the poorest of the poor mainly due to unfavourable economic situation and predominantly because of the negative attitudes society continues to have towards them Thisreport in conjunction with Zimbabwe Statistical Agency ZIMSTATS and The Ministry of Health and Child Care led to the Caregivers Recognition and Services This gave all those who provide regular and substantial care the right to an assessment by a local authority of their ability to care and to continue caring Although there is patchy implementation of the Caregivers Act there has been continued government interest in improving support to carers leading to the Carers National Strategy This included budgets for additional short breaks provision plans for a caregivers pensions and a renewed plea for joint working by health and social services There has also been increased recognition of caregivers and disabled children through the Carers and Disabled Children Act


It gave local councils the power to supply certain services direct to carers following assessment A caregiver also had the right to an assessment even if the person cared for had refused an assessment or the provision of community care services Also it not only enabled councils to make direct payments to parents of disabled children and to disabled 16 and 17 year olds but also required authorities to pay attention to the needs of parent caregivers and to any barriers to social inclusion that face the whole family Robinson and Williams 2002 Efforts by Zimbabwean government after independence to improve the welfare of people with disabilities were eroded by intense economic meltdown However with the increase in pressure from various institutions such as UNICEF and Ministry of Health and Child Care Valuing People became the government's national strategy for people with learning disabilities and their caregivers However it is important to note that much of the focus on less privileged service users in the White PaperValuing Peopleis associated with guidelines for action rather than specific targets or resource allocations They suggest that guidelines for change require definite targets along with monitoring procedures to assess improvements over time Resources allocated to broader services


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