ERIC Number: EJ764992
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Reference Count: 19
Parenting by Persons with Intellectual Disability: An Explorative Study in the Netherlands
Willems, D. L.; de Vries, J.-N.; Isarin, J.; Reinders, J. S.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v51 n7 p537-544 Jul 2007
Background: As a sequel to a report by the Health Council of the Netherlands on contraception in persons with intellectual disabilities (IDs), a fierce debate about parenthood by such persons occurred, in which a lack of knowledge about parenting competences became clear. Therefore, the Ministry of Health commissioned a study investigating examples of "successful parenthood" by persons with IDs. Methods: In conformity with the literature and with legal categories, we defined "successful parenthood" as "good enough parenthood", meaning no indications for child abuse and/or neglect, no dealings with child protection agencies and no legal custody. We combined a nationwide quantitative questionnaire study with a qualitative interview study. Questionnaires were sent to all institutions involved in caring for persons with ID, interviews were held with "good enough" parents and their professional caregivers, selected on the basis of returned questionnaires. Results: Parenthood occurs in around 1.5% of persons with ID in the Netherlands and is mostly restricted to those with mild handicaps. In total, 51% of the cases were regarded, by caregivers, as not-good-enough parenthood, 33% were clearly good enough and 16% were doubtful. Predicting factors included the ability and the willingness to follow advice, the quality of the social network and the acceptance of parenting in the community. However, there is not one decisive predicting factor; particularly, the predictive value of the IQ alone is small. Conclusions: A general policy of discouragement of parenthood, as advocated by the Dutch Ministry, is not supported by our results; moreover, it would probably be impossible and have negative effects on social acceptance of parents with ID. The overall conclusion from the study therefore is that some kind of balancing model, in which positive and negative factors are weighed, may be useful to and need for support.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Child Rearing, Caregivers, Social Networks, Child Abuse, Mental Retardation, Parent Attitudes, Questionnaires, Interviews, Intelligence, Public Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands