Practical support pack
Last updated: 02/09/2022
The Promise is Scottish Governments commitment to families that they will overhaul the care system by 2030 with the focus on keeping families together, where possible.
As part our work to help #keepthepromise in Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland is developing a practical support pack which will be available for families to provide support when children have gone into care and then when are returned from care back to their parent/families.
Our research has shown that support for families with children in or on the edges of the care system does not focus sufficiently on the links between care and poverty nor does it take a holistic approach. It also highlights that often, when a child is taken into care, parents may not feel supported by the care system “support for me really melted away when she was taken”.
While there are lots of examples of good practice, this is often down to actions of individual social workers and teams and is not consistent with the experiences of families we have interviewed. We want to change things, so that wherever you live, whatever your background, you will get the right support at the right time so that families can be the primary source of love, care, and support. As part of our research so far, we asked families what would have helped them more at the time. We also asked them what could be done better in the future to support families before, during and after involvement with the care system.
We asked parents:
“What would have helped you more?”
“What do you know now that you wish you knew then?” and
“What would have helped you more in relation to finances and financial health?”
The responses have been grouped together under the following key themes:
“Being told how [A] being removed would impact on my finances would have helped – my money just stopped!”
“Sign posting to agencies who can support a variety of issues. (a leaflet or something with agencies contact details).”
“I would like more support to be known to parents and families who are having issues. If parents know who to go to for help it can reduce their anxiety and help them to cope with what’s going on.”
“I wish I knew then [about support that was there] and had been able to access them.”
“Simple things like a bus pass to get to contact, (not having to pay ticket and get it refunded).”
“Maybe a small allowance to buy snacks for contact or to remove that pressure completely.”
“Support for key events – birthday, Christmas, easter etc. this does not need to be a lot but could help with reducing the impact on mental health.”
Changes to the way benefits are removed and re-instated
“This is difficult as I know my baby was not with me but equally, I still had the same responsibilities. Maybe keep benefits for a bit longer with a slight reduction?”
“If his money was to stop, I couldn’t afford to stay in this house and support my other 2 children. If this was looked at I would be less stressed as this is a worry for me.”
“Making sure benefits are in place for the return of children or support until this is arranged.”
“Maybe advocacy could have explained what was happening and what I needed to do/change to enable the children to be returned.”
Help with budgeting and money management skills
“How to manage a house pay bills and things like that. I was so young and didn’t have a clue.”
“Would also help to show I could budget and consider the needs of my children.”
Practical parenting skills
“Maybe if someone spent time showing me how to care for my baby …rather than just watching and writing everything down.”
“Given the right guidance and support to keep myself and my boys safe from harm.”
We have identified three ways in which to take forward the idea’s parents have shared with us:
- A practical support pack for families at the point that children are taken into care and when children return from care.
- supplementary guidance for services working with families with children in or on the edges of the care system on how to anticipate and respond to the cumulative impact on families when children either enter or return from care.
- a policy brief, which will set out recommendations for policy makers to change things for the better.
The table below maps the ideas and suggestions from our interviews with parents to these three project deliverables.
|Ideas and suggestions from parents||Practical Support Pack||Supplementary Guidance||Policy brief|
|Changes to the way benefits are removed and re-instated||*|
|Help with budgeting and money management skills||*|
|Practical parenting skills||*|
We are now working with a wider group of parents, including you, to develop the practical support pack. We would like you to help us by sharing your views on what should be included and how best to make sure the pack gets to and is understood by all the families who could benefit.