Original post from Community Care


Copyright Rex Features Limited 2012;13856668;2640;4126;1341932249;Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:57:29 GMT;0

Copyright Rex Features Limited 2012;13856668;2640;4126;1341932249;Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:57:29 GMT;0

Local authorities could soon be forced to merge their adoption services, under government powers set to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech today.

The new law, contained in the proposed schools and adoption bill, will oblige councils to combine their services to increase and speed up adoption rates.

Councils will have two years to join together services under their own steam, after which ministers will have the power to force ‘failing’ authorities to take action.

Too small and localised

Although no barriers prevent councils from working together, ministers believe adoption is currently happening, “at too small and localised a scale”, with evidence showing councils tend to concentrate their efforts locally when looking for adopters.

By working together, ministers hope the choice of potential matches for a child will increase significantly and permanent families will be found sooner.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker – regardless of where they live.”

‘Greatest step change in a generation’

Local authorities will be encouraged to identify their own regional approach that would see them merge their adoption services under one system, or outsource delivery of their adoption functions into a single regional agency.

The Department for Education (DfE) confirmed the government will provide financial and practical support for local authorities and adoption agencies to help them bring their services together regionally.

Doing so would implement the, “greatest step change in the way children are matched for adoption in a generation”, the DfE stated.

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Photo: Cultura/REX (Picture posed by models)   ‘LGBT foster carers are very useful – we know what it’s like to be different but equal’

Photo: REX/F1 Online   Placement orders fall by half in nine months, government figures show

wpid-scotland-flag-rex.gif   Social Work Scotland: A new integrated voice for Scottish social work    ………….’

Original post from Community Care


Social worker copied and pasted reports Photo: REX/GARO/PHANIE

Social worker copied and pasted reports Photo: REX/GARO/PHANIE

Local authorities have set up online e-markets to meet key duties under the Care Act but their potential to deliver choice to care users could be undermined by risk aversion from frontline staff and management, according to a report.

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank found that around a quarter of councils now allow self-funding adult social care users and personal budget holders to search for and purchase care services via ‘Amazon-style’ e-markets. Many had set up the sites to meet their responsibility to provide universal information and guidance under the Care Act 2014, the IPPR said.

Benefits of e-markets

The IPPR identified three main benefits to the e-market systems: they improved access to the market for new and small providers, provided more opportunities for user-commissioning by allowing people to describe the service they want and providers to respond with a tailored service and price, and helped integrate networks of formal and informal care.

However, the report also identified a number of issues with implementation of the platforms. Too many local authorities viewed them as cost-saving tools rather than a chance to transform care. A culture of risk aversion among local authorities and frontline staff often stifled new providers from entering the markets and led to professionals and brokers directing people to services they had always used.

Culture change

“Action is required in a number of areas if the genuine choice that e-marketplaces promise is to be delivered. First, those who help users to select products and services need to become confident in helping those users find the services that are right for them, rather than simply directing those users to the services that the broker or social worker has always used,” the report said.

“Many of the most innovative providers are non-traditional, and substantial offline work and cultural change among staff may be required to ensure a diverse supply rather than a replication of the existing market. Carers, paid brokers, frontline social workers and charities with advisory functions all assist users in making choices, and they are key to this process.”

The culture of excessive caution must be tackled by ensuring that risk is shared appropriately and frontline staff are given the attention and permission they need to focus on outcomes rather than being “cowed by concerns about compliance and liability”, the report said.

The report pointed to Worcestershire county council as a good example of a local authority supporting its social workers to utilise the new system. The council held networking events for social workers to meet local care providers and discuss the e-marketplace.

Wider potential of technology

The e-marketplace model is just one example of how local authorities are looking to use technology to meet their Care Act duties. The most recent Care Act stocktake by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) found that 147 of 152 local authorities planned to introduce an element of online self-service for care ranging from e-marketplaces to web-based assessments.

Richard Pantlin, the Adass technology and informatics lead, said directors were keen to promote online options for individuals and carers who were “happy and capable to use it”.

“Hard-pressed people in their 40′s, 50′s and 60′s who are the main informal carers for their elderly parents will find such resources particularly helpful. Many more are likely to be contacting councils as a result of the cap on care costs being introduced from next April,” he said.

“During this year, Adass is organising workshops in each of the regions to encourage more co-operation across councils and to share best practice for engaging citizens online for the Care Act. Many councils have already implemented good Information & Advice portals that direct users according to their needs.

“Some, such as Oxfordshire, have enabled carers to complete their own assessments online. Others are planning online financial self-assessment. There are also an increasing number of apps independently available to people in need of support and their carers to assist them.”

Adass is holding a ‘Care apps showcase’ on 19 October in Leeds.

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Original post from BBC News


Tony Blair

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to stand down from his role as Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, sources confirm.

He will leave the role next month after he fulfils “outstanding commitments”, a source close to Mr Blair told the BBC.

Mr Blair, who took the role just hours after leaving Downing Street in 2007, has written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to confirm his decision.

He will “remain active” in the region in an informal role, the source said.

Mr Blair remains “fully committed to assisting the international community in its work with Israel and the Palestinians to bring about progress on the two-state solution”, they said.

“He believes that he can best support these efforts through working with the key regional players, the USA, the EU and others, without any formal role.”

Tensions have frequently flared along the Israeli border with Gaza

Tensions have frequently flared along the Israeli border with Gaza

By Kevin Connolly, BBC Middle East correspondent

No-one is going to consider Tony Blair’s period as Quartet envoy a resounding success.

But it can’t be written off as a failure either, largely because of the mandate he was given.

The role came with considerable media fanfare, but in truth they were big headlines heralding a modest set of responsibilities.

It was the envoy’s job to bring economic development to Palestinian areas, and there were some successes on improving freedom of movement and mobile phone services.

But everyone knows some sort of political progress has to come – stability, if not a proper deal – before the Palestinian economy can really flourish.

That never came on Mr Blair’s watch. But it wasn’t his remit either.

Some felt he was too comfortable with the Israelis and that the Palestinians never felt he put in enough hours at the job.

His time may not be ending gloriously but it is difficult to hold Mr Blair to account for failure in a region where very few international diplomats have succeeded.


Although he did contribute to the political process, Mr Blair felt the post was “limited” to supporting the Palestinian people on economic development and strengthening institutions, the source said.

But despite the “political constraints” of the position, Mr Blair believes “much has been achieved” over the last eight years.

The former Labour prime minister feels an “entirely new approach” is required to find a two-state solution, the source added.

Mr Blair will now “concentrate on strengthening relations between Israel and the wider Arab world”, which he believes could help “underpin international efforts to end the ongoing impasse in the peace process”.

‘Hope draining away’

“He will also focus on encouraging Israel to take measures which will dramatically improve the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza,” the source said

“He believes that achieving this progress on the ground is an essential prerequisite to strengthening broader Arab-Israeli relations.”

James Robbins, BBC diplomatic correspondent, said Mr Blair’s time in the role had coincided with “hope draining away throughout the Middle East peace process”.

He said the Quartet of powers was now likely to examine its own role in the peace process – as well as the future role of another possible envoy.

“So little has been achieved – arguably nothing has been achieved – in the Israel-Palestine process in the past decade and more, so I think if the Quartet examines its own usefulness it will certainly think twice before rushing to have a new envoy,” our correspondent added.  …………’

Original post from Disability Scoop


For years, educators and parents have reported promising results with iPads among kids with special needs. Now, the technology is proving useful for older students with disabilities too. (Thinkstock)

For years, educators and parents have reported promising results with iPads among kids with special needs. Now, the technology is proving useful for older students with disabilities too. (Thinkstock)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Travis Pilcher, 20, didn’t talk for most of his life.

He was a mystery to his teachers, who couldn’t find a way to help the young man with severe autism. By the time he was a teenager, his parents, Michael and Shannia Pilcher of Fort Worth, were exhausted from dealing with his mood swings and aggressive behavior.

“When he couldn’t get his point across, he became so frustrated that he would explode,” Shannia Pilcher said.

Three years ago, Travis was chosen to be the guinea pig in a Fort Worth school district effort to equip nonverbal special education students with iPads. Within months, he was swiping symbols on the screen that converted text to speech. He would mimic the sounds he heard from the iPad to talk to his parents.

For the first time, Travis was communicating.

The tall, slender young man who had been known for pitching fits became a calm, adoring son who shares kisses with his mother.

“It was a 180-degree change,” Michael Pilcher said. “He’s not aggressive anymore.”

Travis is one of about 50 students with autism, Down Syndrome and other challenges who are using iPads to communicate inside and outside the classroom at Boulevard Heights Alternative School, said Debbie Manning, a speech language pathologist at the school.

Children who barely had social skills are using iPads to break their silence, she said.

“We have students … we’ve never heard utter a sound, they’re beginning to vocalize and make word approximations,” Manning said. “It’s been more than a miracle.”

The school has depended on 20 iPads — roughly two per classroom — since the program was launched, speech language therapist Kellie Cullen said. Another 10 iPads also are being used at the transitional center for special education students.

Because of the success at drawing out reluctant speech learners, the Fort Worth school board last month approved the purchase of more than 130 additional iPads, which will be distributed throughout special education classrooms at regular campuses in the school district.

“Most of our students, especially students with autism, have good motor skills, vision and hearing skills, so they can utilize an iPad,” Cullen said. “It’s been a total game changer for us. We’re talking about a shift in the culture here.”

Dozens of other special education students across the district have also benefited from the devices. Valerie Godines, a 21-year-old student who has Down syndrome, got an iPad just two months ago, her mother, Maria Godines, said.

“She’s communicating more,” Maria Godines said. “There are still things I don’t understand, but with the iPad, she tells us what she wants and what she needs.”

Enrique Cuellar, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome who is nonverbal, participates in a transitional school-to-work program. He has also been using an iPad to communicate, his mother said.

On a recent Monday morning, he was among students demonstrating how they swipe icons and communicate with their parents. Enrique chose icons that described what he wanted to eat (enchiladas), where he wanted to go (school) and where he wanted to spend the night (with his dad). The devices have thousands of words covering everything from food to feelings.

Roman King, a 13-year-old with autism, learned to speak using the iPad, said his mother, Jessica Clemente.

She prodded him with questions: “What is your name? What do you like to eat?” And he answered crisply, right away.

Enrique’s mother, Danielle Sanchez, said this is just the start. She wants to see kids with special needs introduced to the iPad starting in elementary school, “so that by high school, we’re going to be wishing they couldn’t talk as much.”

Gaining in popularity

Educators and parents at schools across the country have reported promising results with iPad use among children with autism for the past several years. Nonprofits have sprung up in various regions to collect money to help get the devices in the hands of children who need them.

Manning and Cullen decided to try iPads after they saw university research showing they helped students with autism learn speech later than previously thought.

The district had been using another device, but each cost more than $6,000, but the iPads, at $1,000 each with special software, mean the district could help more students.

The software, Words for Life, carries up to 5,000 words. So a student who begins to learn the word “eat” can gradually add on related words, such as “enchilada.”

Manning says the devices imitate normal language development.

“Similar to when one learns keyboarding skills, the students are learning a motor plan,” Manning said.

A student can swipe a word and hear it immediately, over and over. The iPad creates immediate feedback and the student is in control of the pacing.

“Our goal is to help kids be able to communicate better,” Cullen said. “If they don’t have words, we want to get them words. If they don’t have sentences, we want to get them sentences. If they have sentences but no social skills, we want to get them social skills so they can have relationships.”

Before he learned to use his iPad, Roman King would walk the hallways in silence. Now, Cullen said, he searches for his teachers.

“Now it’s, ‘Good morning, Ms. Kellie,’” Cullen said. “It sends me over the moon, especially when I would be at the other end of the hallway.

“That’s super social behavior,” Cullen said. “He used to be just to himself and now there’s a whole world around him.”

© 2015 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.      


Copyright © 2015 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved  ……’



Whether you agree with the action or not, it was his families respect for his Human Rights that held the day and his own judgement.

However, whether mercy killing or assisted suicide should be made legal is a different matter, as every humans rights need to be respected. This as to include those who, for one reason and another, may not have the capacity to effect or understand this right or whose will could be managed, either intentionally or not, by others to follow a course which they may not reasonably wish to do.

Originally posted on Madamsabi's Blog:

This story is touching.. Brings tears to my eyes..I can’t judge his actions because ‘it is he who wears the shoes that knows where it hurts’.


After doctors informed him he had inoperable cancer in his spine, Jeffrey Spector feared that at any moment he could become paralysed from the neck down. He did not want to become a burden on loved ones so, despite the pleas of his wife and children, the businessman, 54, decided to kill himself.

Before he took his life at the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic, the keep-fit fanatic said: “I am going before my time but I am not scared. I believe what I am doing is in the best long-term interests of my family. They disagree with that of course but they accept I have my own opinion.”


His wife, Elaine, 53, and daughters Keleigh, 21, Courtney, 19, and Camryn, 15, were with him…

View original 625 more words

Original post from The Washington Post

‘…………..By Jonathan Capehart

People celebrate in Dublin on Saturday as the final vote of the referendum on same-sex marriage is announced. (Aidan Crawley/European Pressphoto Agency)

People celebrate in Dublin on Saturday as the final vote of the referendum on same-sex marriage is announced. (Aidan Crawley/European Pressphoto Agency)

Here’s something you will never hear any of the crop of Republican presidential candidates say on same-sex marriage: “With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people.” Those soothing words came from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny after 62.1 percent of his nation voted in favor of marriage equality on Saturday.

It was a stunning development in one of Europe’s most conservative countries. A nation where the Catholic Church once held great sway. Emphasis on “once.” The resounding victory of same-sex marriage proponents is as clear a sign of independence from the church as you’ll ever see.

Now, the civil rights of a minority should never be put up for popular vote. Tyranny of the majority and all that. Also, sometimes the populace needs a force greater than its collective will to make it do the right thing. But in the case of the Emerald Isle, the people did right all on their own. A marvelous thing.

Pity the GOP field is incapable of seeing same-sex marriage with Irish eyes. Rather than express the humanity advised in the GOP autopsy after the 2012 presidential loss or heeding the voice of young Republicans, the candidatescontort themselves on the question of whether they would even attend a gay wedding. Come on, people!

Maybe they are all hoping the Supreme Court will take them off the hook and rule that there is a constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples. “The court has spoken,” “rule of law,” blah, blah, blah. A lame tactic, but I’ll take it. This isn’t Ireland. And this certainly isn’t Britain, where conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was a vocal champion of marriage equality and won reelection with overwhelming support. This is America, where once again, the courts will push the nation to live up to its ideal of equal protection under the law. The Supreme Court did it for African Americans in the 20th century and so it must for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans in the 21st.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.  ………………..’

Original post from Disabled Go News



The new government has downgraded the importance of the role of the minister for disabled people, just days after winning the general election.

The ministerial post had previously been a junior ministerial role until the October 2013 appointment of Mike Penning, who became a minister of state.

At the time, Penning said: “Making this a senior ministerial post shows the government’s commitment to disabled people and ensuring everyone can get on in life.”

His successor as minister for disabled people, Mark Harper, was also a minister of state.

But following last week’s announcements by prime minister David Cameron of his new government, it has emerged that the new minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, will be merely a junior minister, or under-secretary.

Kate Green, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said: “What disabled people need and deserve is a minister who understands the issues, commands respect of colleagues and will stand up for their rights.

“Downgrading the role in government calls into question the importance David Cameron gives to the interests of disabled people.”

Since his appointment, Tomlinson has not responded to a request from Disability News Service for an interview.

Despite Penning’s comments in 2013, a spokesman for Number 10 said: “The status of the office of minister for disabled people remains unchanged.

“Ministerial ranks are based on the experience of the office holder and do not have any bearing on the importance of the office itself.”

When asked whether this contradicted the remarks made by Penning, he refused to comment further.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Roisin Norris

Hi I’m Roisin Norris, Digital Marketing Executive at DisabledGo and I will be uploading blogs and news for you all to read.

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Original post from Disabled Go News


Woman in wheelchair

More than 100 disabled people every week are losing their Motability vehicles after being assessed for the government’s new disability benefit, the charity has confirmed.

The figures appears to confirm fears that the replacement of working-age disability living allowance with the new personal independence payment (PIP) would see at least 100,000 disabled people lose their Motability car.

Some estimates have suggested that as many as 180,000 DLA claimants could eventually be forced to give up their Motability vehicles after being reassessed for PIP.

Only those qualifying for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP – or the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA – are entitled to obtain a car through the Motability scheme.

Although the process of reassessing about two million working-age DLA claimants for PIP has been delayed, the speed of the programme is now picking up.

Of the 8,000 Motability customers who have been reassessed for their PIP eligibility so far, 3,000 have lost their entitlement to be on the scheme and have been told to hand their vehicles back.

These figures, first obtained and broadcast this week by ITV News, have been confirmed by Motability.

A Motability spokeswoman said: “We are currently seeing over 100 customers losing eligibility each week.

“Whilst the initial implementation of PIP during 2013 and 2014 has been slower than originally anticipated, this rate has increased over recent months as the reassessment rollout has been extended by DWP to additional areas across GB.”

She said it was “still too early” to predict accurately the number of customers who would lose their Motability vehicles.

Motability has previously suggested that about 360,000 of its customers will eventually be reassessed for PIP.

If three out of every eight of these customers lose their eligibility, the number forced to hand back their Motability vehicles could reach 135,000.

The Motability spokeswoman said: “As we are only a small percentage of the way through the reassessment process and it is impossible to know how it will unfold over the next five years, it is too early to accurately predict the number of customers who will lose their Motability vehicles as a result of the transition to PIP.

“The estimate of 100,000 is in line with scheme forecasts. However, Motability is prepared for a range of scenarios above and below this number.”

Motability won praise 18 months ago after it announced – as part of a package of measures – that it would hand £2,000 to every disabled person who had their vehicle taken away after being reassessed for PIP and had joined the scheme before January 2013.

The spokeswoman said: “Motability has already provided some £6 million for this transitional support and the number of customers affected will unquestionably increase during the coming months, as the pace of DWP reassessments accelerates.

“Early research from recipients of the transitional support package shows that customers are appreciative of the level of support provided and that it has helped them to remain mobile without their Motability car, in many cases by purchasing a used car.”

Asked if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) agreed with the Disability News Service estimate of 135,000 and was comfortable with this number of people losing their Motability vehicles, a DWP spokesman said: “By the end of January 2015, over 103,000 new claimants had been awarded PIP enhanced rate mobility.

“In addition, over 26,000 people previously in receipt of DLA were awarded the enhanced rate of mobility having been reassessed under PIP.

“We have worked closely with Motability to ensure that support is available to people leaving the scheme following PIP reassessment.

“Motability have agreed that the majority of people will be eligible for a one-off payment of £2,000, which will help ensure their mobility needs continue to be met.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com


Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

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Original post from Disabled Go News



Campaign groups have warned that inconsiderate motorists could ignore disabled parking bays in the wake of a controversial legal ruling on wheelchair users’ rights.

The Court of Appeal said bus operators are not required to enforce policies requiring able-bodied passengers to vacate the wheelchair spaces on board their vehicles, including mothers with prams.

Disability Rights UK, which campaigns for equality for wheelchair users and other disabled people, said the ruling could have wide-ranging implications.

Sue Bott, the charity’s director of policy, said: “I can imagine a situation where a supermarket which has a number of spaces for wheelchair users and, when the car park is busy, a disabled driver asks someone to move.

“If they refuse a supermarket or other company would simply say they can only ask their customers not to park there. If a person refuses to move the retailer may say they are not obliged to do anything about it – that is very concerning.”

Read the full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11280024/Wheelchair-ruling-will-affect-disabled-parking-says-charity.html 

Roisin Norris

Hi I’m Roisin Norris, Digital Marketing Executive at DisabledGo and I will be uploading blogs and news for you all to read.

More posts from author  ………………..’

Original post from Disabled Go News



It’s good to see that Easyjet are improving the accessibility of it’s aircraft’s by introducing wheelchair accessible toilets.

All new Airbus A320 delivered after May 2016 will be featuring the wheelchair accessible lavatory. Airbus is the only aircraft manufacturer in the world to offer this inclusive option on single aisle planes.

The airline also announced plans to retrofit its existing 76 A320s with the Space-Flex 2 lavatory. The airline said the process should be completed by 2018.

The Space-Flex 2 lavatory allows two toilets, each of a size comparable with those existing in the A320 airplane, merge into one through a simple process of conversion.

Reallocating the two rear toilets at the back of the plane has more than one benefit. The redesigned cabin interior allows for six extra seats without compromising in space. It also allows for an enlarged galley area accommodating up to eight half-size trolleys.

The easyjet special assistance advisory group first discussed the Space-Flex option in the summer of 2013. “We were the ones to bring the then new concept to the attention of the group,” Reduced Mobility Rights director Roberto Castiglioni said. “By fitting fully accessible lavatories easyjet set a higher standard in access to air travel for all.”

Read the full article online: http://www.reducedmobility.eu/20150514623/TheNews/easyjet-to-fit-planes-with-wheelchair-accessible-toilets

Roisin Norris

Hi I’m Roisin Norris, Digital Marketing Executive at DisabledGo and I will be uploading blogs and news for you all to read.

More posts from author  ………..’


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