Thematic Panel 22 – Changing priorities of disability policies and care/assistance for disabled people in different care regimes

Thematic Panel 22

Changing priorities of disability policies and care/assistance for disabled people in different care regimes

Conveners and Discussants:

Yueh-Ching Chou, Professor of Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan and Teppo Kröger, Professor of Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Many disabled activists and disability scholars have argued that disabled people prefer Independent Living, that is, being in control of their own support rather than ‘being cared for’. In addition to disability policies, disabled people cross different ages and life cycles may be included in childcare and eldercare policies (e.g. long-term care policy). Besides different ages and life cycle phases, types of impairments and needs are various among disabled people, which make the policies and services that are relevant to disabled people more complex than those of childcare and care for older people. In fact, the diversity of disabled people’s needs has been mostly forgotten in the development and priorities of care policies. In the past decades, Independent Living and deinstitutionalisation movements originated by disabled people have turned out to be main trend of care policies for disabled people; therefore personalisation has become a priority of social care policy in many developed countries. For example, ‘personal assistance’ (PA) as an alternative to home help has grown to become a part of the mainstream of ‘home and community-based’ support services in many European countries for disabled people with certain types of impairment (e.g. persons with mobility impairment). In contrast, in some Asian and European countries institutional care may still be the primary service for certain groups of disabled people, especially for people with learning difficulties. Alternatively, in some countries, migrant care workers have transformed into another source of human power of care work, prioritised explicitly or implicitly by policy-makers, hired by service provider agencies or paid by disabled people or their family as ‘personal assistants’. Changing priorities and forms of care work or personal assistance are various in different countries and different welfare systems and may cause different impacts on well-being of disabled people and formal and informal carers (e.g. local care workers, migrant care workers and family members, depending also on gender, class and ethnic group). From policy and equality perspectives, discussion on the implications of changing priorities in disability and social care policies to disabled people and all stakeholders is needed.

Call for contributions

This panel aims at contributing to these discussions from the perspectives of policy, equality, and critical disability studies addressing the changing priorities of care and support policies and the influences of such changes on disabled people and all the stakeholders in different countries around the world (e.g. family/friends, formal care workers, migrant care workers etc.). We invite papers focused on:

How are disability and social care policies and their prioritizations made and formulated in different care regimes and what are their impacts on the lives of disabled people and formal/informal carers? What are the main debates connected to changing priorities and policies and how are the partly contradictory perspectives of care and Independent Living embedded in them? What lessons can be learned from disability research to care research and vice versa?