An article examined the work of two family intervention projects (FIPs) within Leicester City, focusing on keyworkers' perceptions of 'successful intervention'. The authors call for more research to establish 'what works'.
Source: Sarah Hodgkinson and Diane Jones, 'The use of family intervention projects to deal with anti-social behaviour: a preliminary study of keyworker perceptions', Crime Prevention & Community Safety, Volume 15 Issue 4
A study examined how to support families with different levels of need across the early intervention spectrum to engage with services within an overall framework of neglect. Nine authorities from across England carried out research into this topic, supported by the researchers. The research found that practitioners and families felt that more help needed to be offered to families early on and that authorities' and different practitioner groups' responses might vary. Practitioners and families suggested changes and improvements to overcome both existing gaps in provision and challenges to supporting families effectively. Further summaries for target practitioner audiences were to be issued in late 2013.
Source: Claire Easton, Emily Lamont, Robert Smith, and Helen Aston, 'We Should Have Been Helped From Day One': A unique perspective from children, families and practitioners, National Foundation for Educational Research
A report said that more families were using their local children's centres, at a time when local authorities were predicting further reductions in funding. The report said that centres supported two thirds of all disadvantaged families with children under the age of five, and warned that progress was at risk of being undermined by future cuts in support.
Source: Childrenï¿½s Centres Census 2013: A national overview of developments in Childrenï¿½s Centres, 4Children
A report called for all children's education to include family learning. The report urged investment in family learning to reduce spending on vulnerable families and to aid sustained economic growth.
Source: Family Learning Works: The inquiry into family learning in England and Wales, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education
A report said that greater support was needed to help young fathers. Too often young fathers were repeating the mistake of their own fathers, and failing to support their children and their children's mothers.
Source: David Lammy MP, Young Dads: Overlooked, undercounted, but out there, 4Children
An article examined policy and practice responses to the 'hidden' population of birth mothers who experienced successive, permanent removal of their children to state care and/or adoption. Falling so far outside normative expectations of motherhood and presenting with multiple problems of daily living, this population raised particular practical, ethical, and legal challenges: however, these challenges should not stand in the way of a concerted prevention agenda.
Source: Karen Broadhurst and Claire Mason, 'Maternal outcasts: raising the profile of women who are vulnerable to successive, compulsory removals of their children – a plea for preventative action', Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law, Volume 35 Number 3
An article examined the effect of the coalition government's austerity measures on family support and childrens services.
Source: Harriet Churchill, 'Retrenchment and restructuring: family support and childrens services reform under the coalition', Journal of Children's Services, Volume 8 Number 3
An article examined the effectiveness and cost utility of a universally provided early years parenting programme, using a randomized controlled trial in early years centres in four deprived areas of south Wales. No evidence was found of clinical or cost utility for the programme.
Source: Doug Simkiss, Helen Snooks, Nigel Stallard, Peter Kimani, Bernadette Sewell, Deborah Fitzsimmons, Rebecca Anthony, Sarah Winstanley, Lynsey Wilson, Ceri Phillips, and Sarah Stewart-Brown, 'Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a universal parenting skills programme in deprived communities: multicentre randomised controlled trial', BMJ Open, Volume 3 Issue 8
An article compared community-based and individual-based targeting of parenting support interventions in disadvantaged communities in Wales.
Source: Judy Hutchings, Nia Griffith, Tracey Bywater, Margiad Elen Williams, and Helen Baker-Henningham, 'Targeted versus universal provision of support in high-risk communities: comparison of characteristics in two populations recruited to parenting interventions', Journal of Children's Services, Volume 8 Number 3
The coalition government announced that its 'Troubled Families' programme in England was to be expanded. In 2015-16 an additional £200 million would be invested in providing intensive help to 400,000 high-risk families on top of £1 billion already committed to helping 120,000 families over the period 2010-2015. There would be new incentives for local services such as the police, health, and social services to work more closely together in order to reduce costs and improve outcomes for families.
Source: Press release 24 June 2013, HM Treasury/Department for Communities and Local Government
Links: HMT/DCLG press release | 4Children press release | Childrens Commissioner press release | LGA press release | RIP press release | Guardian report | Inside Housing report | Public Finance report
An article compared parenting support in England, France, Germany, and Italy. England had 'by far' the most extensive services to engage with parents, and was distinctive in terms of the extent to which 'support' meant intervention to (re)skill or (re)train parents through standardized parenting programmes. Elsewhere, 'support' had deeper roots in education for family and social life, and interventions tended to be more tailored and home-grown. However, there was evidence of a general move in the direction of greater state engagement with how parents reared their children and their competence in this role.
Source: Mary Daly, 'Parenting support policies in Europe', Families, Relationships and Societies, Volume 2 Number 2
A report highlighted the relationship problems between partners that could be triggered by the transition to parenthood. It made a series of recommendations designed to improve the support available.
Source: Catherine Houlston, Lester Coleman, Lynne Milford, Nancy Platts, and Penny Mansfield, Sleep, Sex and Sacrifice: The transition to parenthood, a testing time for relationships?, One Plus One
An article examined the key elements of 'culturally competent' practice for social work with families living in poverty, drawing on the first-hand accounts of parents and children.
Source: Gordon Jack and Owen Gill, 'Developing cultural competence for social work with families living in poverty', European Journal of Social Work, Volume 16 Issue 2
An article examined what a 'structure of feeling' approach could reveal about the gendered dynamics of parenting under the New Labour governments (1997-2010). It explored some of the ways in which contestations about gender roles were evident in policy and in popular cultural discourses, and highlighted the pressures that these exerted on parents' personal lives.
Source: Richenda Gambles, 'Managing the gendered dynamics of parenting during the UK New Labour government years', Children's Geographies, Volume 11 Issue 2
An article examined evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study on the relationship between fathers' involvement and the mental well-being of mothers, fathers, and children.
Source: Katherine Twamley, Ginny Brunton, Katy Sutcliffe, Kate Hinds, and James Thomas, 'Fathers' involvement and the impact on family mental health: evidence from Millennium Cohort Study analyses', Community, Work & Family, Volume 16 Number 2
A new book examined the distinctions between normal family troubles and 'troubled' and 'troubling' families. It considered the ways in which troubles featured in 'normal' families, and how the normal featured in 'troubled' families.
Source: Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Carol-Ann Hooper, and Val Gillies (eds), Family Troubles? Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people, Policy Press
An article examined the experiences of highly vulnerable families with complex and enduring needs, based on families' own accounts. It highlighted the assumptions that were made about family knowledge, and how families shared and withheld information about their needs and experiences.
Source: Kate Morris, 'Troubled families: vulnerable families' experiences of multiple service use', Child & Family Social Work, Volume 18 Issue 2
Researchers examined a trial of the market potential for high-quality universal parenting classes. The trial had succeeded in offering parents a wide choice of types of parenting programme and modes of delivery. Classes had attracted a representative sample of the population with regard to family status and parent education. Lack of knowledge of the positive outcomes from parenting programmes and time constraints were the main inhibitors to participation: only 2 per cent of eligible parents had taken up classes in the first seven months of the trial.
Source: Mairi Ann Cullen, Stephen Cullen, Steve Strand, Ioanna Bakopoulou, Geoff Lindsay, Richard Brind, Emily Pickering, Caroline Bryson, and Susan Purdon, CANparent Trial Evaluation: First Interim Report, Research Report 280, Department for Education
A report examined parenting support services in Europe. It summarized the common challenges faced by all providers of parenting support, and made policy recommendations based on what had been observed to work in different countries.
Source: Daniel Molinuevo, Parenting Support in Europe, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions