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Ayelet Gur & Michael Ashley Stein, Social worker attitudes toward parents with intellectual disabilities in Israel, 42 Disability & Rehabilitation 1803 (2019).

Abstract: Purpose: United Nations human rights treaties and domestic law require social workers to support the parenting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. Social workers are also required to protect the health and well-being of those clients’ children. This study explores the experiences, challenges, and complex attitudes of Israeli social workers regarding parenthood by their clients with intellectual disabilities. Methods: A qualitative method employed semi-structured interviews with twenty-one social workers. A thematic analysis identified major themes. Results: Social workers recognized the parental desires of clients with intellectual disabilities and acknowledged their role in supporting those individuals. Nevertheless, most of the social workers expressed negative perceptions regarding the right or capability of clients with intellectual disabilities to parent. Social workers thus felt the tension between their personal reservations and their professional duty to support these clients. Regardless of individual attitudes, social workers uniformly asserted that greater state and community support was needed to enable the parental capacity of their clients. Conclusions: In addition to increasing state and community support for parents with intellectual disabilities, additional training is needed for empowering social workers to act on behalf of these clients in Israel.