Children's charity calls for urgent action to increase family support
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A SCOTTISH children's charity has called for urgent action to increase the availability of support services for families in need.
Barnardo's Scotland have made the plea following a parliamentary debate led by Scottish Labour MSP Martin Whitfield on ‘Championing the Right to Holistic Family Support’.
The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund has been welcomed by Barnardo’s Scotland and the wider children’s sector as a step in the right direction, but the charity say that clarity is still needed over the scale and pace of change and exactly how funding will be delivered to frontline services.
The Scottish Government has committed to £500 million over the course of the parliament for its Whole Family Wellbeing Fund, with the first £50 million allocated for 2022/23.
Barnardo’s Scotland wants to see consistent access to family support that is relationship-based, easily accessible, flexible to family need and responsive to practical, emotional and financial challenges.
Alongside this, the charity is also calling for a network of family support services to be established which puts an end to inequality in service availability and ensures the delivery of support to all families who need it regardless of where they live.
Martin Crewe, Barnardo’s Scotland director, said: “It’s refreshing to hear this important issue being debated by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
“Over the past few years there has been an increasing recognition that family support is an effective response to many of the current key priorities for children and young people, including mental health, early intervention to reduce the number of children coming into care and reducing the poverty-related education attainment gap.
“A key catalyst has been the work of The Promise team which is taking forward the recommendations from the care review and has highlighted that current activity on family support is simply not sufficient.
“But if we are to keep The Promise, helping families stay together in an environment which allows children to thrive, we need much bolder action from the Scottish Government to work with partners in a shift towards preventative spend.
“We want to see a long-term commitment from government to take forward the work of the Family Support Delivery Group and deliver large scale investment to ensure family support is universally available.”
Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out more about the charity.