Developing services which support parents and families

About Families update

About Families is a partnership which supports voluntary and public sector organisations to develop their services to meet the changing needs of parents and families, including those with disabilities.  It produces accessible evidence reports on parenting topics and provides support to organisations to involve their service users in planning, implementing and evaluating service developments.

In November 2010, About Families hosted its first forum event (About Teenagers) to explore the evidence report 'Parenting Teenagers: relationships and behaviour' and consider the implications and opportunities for developing services to support parents and families, including those with disabilities.  Below are some examples of how About Families has provided support to organisations to develop their services:


Includem is a voluntary organisation which supports Scotland's most vulnerable young people.  In 2010, it launched a toolkit, 'A Better Life', for staff working with vulnerable young people.

Following the About Teenagers forum, About Families gave a presentation to the 'Family Work-Champions Group' which considered the direct links between the research findings and Includem's practice.  The group now plans to produce resources to support family work.  Includem will ask About Families for feedback to ensure that the materials reflect the research findings.

Supporting parents and carers in Edinburgh

In partnership with NHS Lothian, Edinburgh City Council is working to build capacity within all sectors to provide co-ordinated universal support for parents and carers.

In 2010, parents were consulted to explore the challenges they face and the support they need.  About Families provided support to analyse and report on these local findings.  About Families has also supported the development workers to develop tools to self-evaluate the 'Parent Information Points' which provide information for parents in key locations such as libraries.

Amber Mediation Project, Edinburgh Cyrenians

Amber works to prevent homelessness amongst 14-24 year olds by mediating between young people and their parents.  It recognises that the challenges of parenting a teenager can contribute to relationship breakdown.  About Families provided support to the project to consult with parents and families to establish if there is a need for parenting programmes and how they should be delivered.  This has provided evidence which Amber has used to apply for funding to develop the work.

Parenting across Scotland (PAS)

Following the About Teenagers forum event, PAS used the research findings to revise its 'Top Ten Tips' booklet, Parenting Teenagers.  It also used the research to update the resources for parents of teenagers on its website.

In June 2011, About Families hosted a second forum event where the evidence report 'Together and Apart: Supporting Families through Change' was launched.  Understanding how to support and strengthen relationships between parents is an important area for research, policy and practice.  Stable, positive relationships within families are important. However, when relationships break down this can be challenging and can impact on parenting and the well-being of both parents and children.  The Together and Apart evidence report presents a review of research evidence for these issues.

More information

About Families is a partnership between the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR), Parenting across Scotland and Capability Scotland.

About Families is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.