Parenting under pressure
Not all families have equal chances. In particular, children in families struggling with substance misuse, those affected by domestic abuse, and parents with mental health difficulties fare worse than others. More children are affected by a parent's imprisonment than by divorce.
Evidence shows that parents on a low income are not worse parents, but they do struggle against greater odds, and with changes to welfare benefits, the pressures on low-income families are set to increase. As well as vital universal services in the early years, families with specific difficulties may need tailored or intensive help.
The articles in this section consider the issues for, and ways of helping, families under pressure.
A positive framework for supporting parents needs to be created and concrete steps taken towards creating a more family-friendly society.
Katherine Rake, chief executive, Family and Parenting Institute, 2011
Incomes fit for parenting
Without an adequate income, the best efforts of parents are undermined. John Dickie makes the case for improving family income in order to give children a decent start in life.
Hardest hit: parents, disability and the age of austerity
Susie Fitton outlines the real cost of 'disability-related expenditure' with evidence that proposed cuts in the welfare benefits system will adversely affect families with a disabled child or adult.
Prison and parenting
Nancy Loucks argues that parents in prison are still parents and that there are clear benefits, in most cases, to maintaining prisoners' family ties, both for the person in prison and for the wider family.
Parenting in the context of domestic abuse
Heather Coady argues that mothers experiencing domestic abuse provide the long-term support and protection to their children and that, for the benefit of children, we need to ensure that mothers are supported to parent to their fullest potential.
Parental drug and alcohol problems
Dave Liddell describes how policy and practice need to combine to respond effectively to the 150,000 children affected by their parents' drug and alcohol use.