Family support and parenting

Families are the basis of our society, and provide the loving, nurturing environment within which children grow and thrive.

Parents and carers are the most significant influence in their children’s lives - what happens within families has more impact on children’s wellbeing and development than any other single factor. Parents and carers’ relationships with their children and with each other are crucial to providing children with the best start in life. The vast majority of parents want the best for their children and strive to provide this to the best of their abilities.

So what happens within families is important to children but what happens to families and how society supports families is important. At PAS we want to see families supported so that families can thrive rather than just survive.

Basic needs

At the most basic level, supporting families means that all families should have a decent income that allows them to provide for their children and affordable housing to live in. When parents are worried about having sufficient money to pay their bills or put food on the table, focussing on your children becomes more difficult. It is crucial that families have their basic needs met so that they have adequate physical and emotional resources to bring up their children. 

Universal services

Families need robust universal services that deliver the support they need when they need it. Support in the early years is particularly important: becoming a parent is a joyful time but can also be a time of great uncertainty and not knowing what to do or where to go to for help. Parents must be able to access a continuum of good, high-quality services from initial contact with midwifery services through to health visiting, early learning and childcare, and education. 

Targeted services

For most families, the support that they receive from universal services will be enough. However some families will have ongoing needs for specialist service while others will encounter an issue that they need support with. Throughout the course of a child’s life, there can be many issues which occur and which parents need help with - for example, diagnosis of a disability, relationship breakdown, bereavement, job loss or many others. Parents need to know where to go for help and be able to find services to support them. 

PAS policy

PAS has worked with Scottish Government and others on a range of policy issues to support parents. These include:

  • formulation of the Early Years Framework
  • work on health visiting
  • development of the National Parenting Strategy
  • the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
  • development of the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy
  • NHS Health Scotland Redesigning Health Information for Parents

We also work on early learning and childcare and family friendly working because the reality for most parents is that they need to combine work with bringing up their family; we believe that it’s important that families should be able to do this in a way that allows them a decent income to bring up their children and affords them a good work-life balance.

PAS partners

PAS partners have a wide range of specialist expertise in family issues through their experience of providing services to thousands of families throughout Scotland. We draw on their knowledge of families in all their diversity to inform our policy work. Our partners provide a wide range of services to all shapes and sizes of families including:

  • one parent families
  • families affected by disability
  • families affected by imprisonment
  • adoptive families
  • kinship carers
  • families affected by drugs and alcohol
  • separating couples

 Our partners provide a variety of helplines which give parents and carers the help they need.