A report provided findings from the Dad Project, which examined the needs of new fathers and looked at how to strengthen the relationships between fathers, their child and his or her mother, and the services that worked with them. The report outlined ten 'top tips' for people working with families during the perinatal period (before and after birth), which covered issues such as improving professionals' understanding, aiding engagement and communications, and supporting both parents in caring for the baby.
Source: Sally Hogg, All Babies Count: The Dad Project, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
A study examined how people's relationships in the United Kingdom were affected by the economic downturn from 2009 to 2012. The report said that those people who were economically affected by the recession were considerably more likely to have experienced deterioration in their relationship quality and stability. It said that there was likely to be ongoing impact (the 'social recession'), since reduced relationship quality might only translate into increased relationship breakdown once financial conditions allowed. The report considered the policy implications.
Source: Dylan Kneale, David Marjoribanks, and Chris Sherwood, Relationships, Recession and Recovery: The role of relationships in generating social recovery, Relate
The Prime Minister announced that responsibility for relationship support policy would transfer from the Department for Education to the Department for Work and Pensions, effective immediately.
Source: David Cameron, Machinery of Government Change: Relationship support, Written Ministerial Statement 5 September 2014, columns 30WS, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
An article examined men's motivations to attend a 'fathers only' parenting programme, and the connected role and implications of a number of aspects of masculinity.
Source: Alan Dolan, '"I've learnt what a dad should do": the interaction of masculine and fathering identities among men who attended a "dads only" parenting programme', Sociology, Volume 48 Issue 4
A report provided an overview of existing research evidence on factors that influenced parental capacity to change in families where there were significant child protection concerns. It brought together evidence from across disciplines and was intended to serve as a single reference resource to assist professionals in making assessments and in evaluating the quality of assessment work in court proceedings.
Source: Harriet Ward, Rebecca Brown, and Georgia Hyde-Dryden, Assessing Parental Capacity to Change when Children are on the Edge of Care: An overview of current research evidence, Research Report 369, Department for Education
An article examined the social and demographic characteristics of mothers who played with/read to/told stories to their child, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Significant inequalities were found: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Black mothers were significantly less likely to play with their child at least weekly compared with white mothers; the same applied to lone mothers compared with those living with a partner; mothers with academic qualifications lower than degree level were less likely to read at least once weekly; compared with mothers who worked full-time, those who worked part-time, were 'on leave' or unemployed, were more likely to play with, and read to, their child at least weekly; and mothers with more than one child were significantly less likely to engage at least weekly in any of the three activities studied.
Source: Rachel Brocklebank, Helen Bedford, and Lucy Griffiths, 'Social determinants of parent-child interaction in the UK', Child: Care, Health and Development, Volume 40 Number 4
An article examined the impact on children of a play visits service based at Her Majesty's Prison Leeds, in the north of England. It said that the visits produced positive outcomes for children of imprisoned fathers and were effective in maintaining and strengthening family ties, but further research was needed to confirm whether play visits produced stronger effects than standard visits.
Source: James Woodall, Karina Kinsella, and Lee Stephenson, '"It was just like we were a family again": play as a means to maintain family ties for children visiting an imprisoned parent', International Journal of Play, Volume 3 Issue 2
An article examined adolescent to parent violence cases reported to the police. It examined victim, offender and incident characteristics from 1892 cases, most of which involved violence against the person or criminal damage in the home. The study found that the majority of offenders were male, and over 75 per cent of victims were female.
Source: Rachel Condry and Caroline Miles, 'Adolescent to parent violence: framing and mapping a hidden problem', Criminology and Criminal Justice, Volume 14 Number 3
A report examined the outcome of the first five years of the Kinship Care Service, an advice provision service in Scotland that aimed to help extended families to take over caring roles when parents could no longer care for children.
Source: In the Family Way: Five years of caring for Kinship Carers in Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland
An article examined comparative outcomes for looked-after children placed in kin and non-kin care in the United Kingdom. It said that stability was achieved more commonly through kin placements, although the inherent familiarity within the setting could undermine aspects of care quality, such as through problematic parental contact or problems within a child's wider network. The article outlined two areas for development of professional practice: the provision of better support to children and kin carers; and better recognition of the need to end inadequate kin placements.
Source: Lydia Brown and Robin Sen, 'Improving outcomes for looked after children: a critical analysis of kinship care', Practice: Social Work in Action, Volume 26 Issue 3
A report examined the impact on children of having a parent in prison. It said that an estimated 200,000 children across England and Wales, 1,500 children at any one time in Northern Ireland, and 30,000 children per year in Scotland were affected by parental imprisonment, but there were no official records as the courts, governments, and local services did not routinely collect such information. The report said that children with a parent in prison: were twice as likely to experience conduct and mental health problems; were less likely to do well at school; were three times more likely to be involved in offending themselves; often felt isolated and ashamed: and were often reluctant to talk about the issues due to fear of being bullied and judged. The report called on the government to appoint a lead Minister to have responsibility for taking forward a range of policy for children of prisoners.
Source: On the Outside: Identifying and supporting children with a parent in prison, Barnardo's
A new book examined the consequences for children of the incarceration of a parent, drawing on a four large-scale studies undertaken in England, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States of America.
Source: Joseph Murray, Catrien Bijleveld, David Farrington, and Rolf Loeber, Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children: Cross-national comparative studies, American Psychological Association
A report examined the evidence on the possible negative impact on children and adolescents who were the siblings of children with intellectual disabilities or autism. It said that existing evidence suggested that only a small number of siblings might be adversely affected, but the evidence that focused on siblings was limited and there were many unanswered questions. The report recommended further research.
Source: Richard Hastings, Children and Adolescents Who Are the Siblings of Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism: Research evidence, Sibs
A report examined the impact on children of poor attachment with their parents. It said that attachment (or 'bonding') had a fundamental effect on children's outcomes, including on literacy and behaviour, and that the impacts could last into adulthood. It estimated that poor attachment affected around 40 per cent of children. The report recommended greater early intervention and support for parenting, through Children's Centres, health visitors and other health services, and through existing policy initiatives such as Troubled Families.
Source: Sophie Moullin, Jane Waldfogel, and Elizabeth Washbrook, Baby Bonds: Parenting, attachment and a secure base for children, Sutton Trust
An article critically examined the dichotomy that opposed the state, as part of an impersonal public sphere, to the private family, as a locus of warmth and intimacy. In recent years this dichotomy had been challenged by trends that had altered the relationship between state and family, including a more fragmented family structure and more individualized and networked support for children. The article also examined the rise of the 'individual child', and the implications this had for inter-generational relations at personal and institutional levels.
Source: Michael Wyness, 'Children, family and the state: revisiting public and private realms', Sociology, Volume 48 Issue 1
An article examined the psychological effect of parental unemployment on children. Parental job loss had a positive influence on young children's overall happiness: but parental unemployment had a negative or non-significant effect on older children. Boys and girls reacted differently to paternal and maternal unemployment. Past happiness strongly predicted educational attainments at age 16.
Source: Nattavudh Powdthavee and James Vernoit, 'Parental unemployment and children's happiness: a longitudinal study of young people's well-being in unemployed households', Labour Economics, Volume 24
A report evaluated three types of government funded intervention to support adult relationships: marriage preparation, (delivered either through a one-day course, or through a questionnaire-based exploration of essential relationship knowledge and awareness for individual couples and feedback via sessions with a trained facilitator); Let's Stick Together, a brief relationship education session delivered mainly to mothers; and couple counselling. The report outlined a range of outcomes and said that couple counselling and the questionnaire-based marriage preparation were both found to be cost effective interventions.
Source: Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, National Foundation for Educational Research, Thomas Coram Research Unit, and Qa Research, Relationship Support Interventions Evaluation, Research Report 315, Department for Education
A new book examined family law in Europe in its cultural context. It considered the law regarding property relations between spouses, the laws of a growing number of countries that dealt with non-formalized relationships, and new developments regarding social, biological, and legal parentage.
Source: Katharina Boele-Woelki and Nina Dethloff (eds), Family Law and Culture in Europe: Developments, challenges and opportunities, Intersentia
An article examined parent engagement in England and the United States of America. Parent engagement was not yet contributing to the provision of services that were more timely, appropriate, or adequate in meeting parent need.
Source: Jeri Damman, 'Better practices in parent engagement: lessons from the USA and England', European Journal of Social Work, Volume 17 Number 1
A new book examined recent research on the impact of high levels of inter-parental conflict on children. It examined the differences between 'destructive' and 'constructive' conflict, how they affected children, the longer term impact, and why some children were more affected than others.
Source: Jenny Reynolds, Catherine Houlston, Lester Coleman, and Gordon Harold, Parental Conflict: Outcomes and interventions for children and families, Policy Press
An article examined the role that fathers played in family responsibilities, in particular the care of young children, and how European Union policy and legislation had contributed to it. It said that including fathers in the work/family life reconciliation debate was essential for the achievement of important EU policies, such as employment and gender equality: but fathers were still missing from the EU policy and legislation.
Source: Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, 'Brave new fathers for a brave new world? Fathers as caregivers in an evolving European Union', European Law Journal, Volume 20 Issue 1