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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scots parents tormented by the spectre of poverty and mental illness


Parents are finding it increasingly difficult to cope

New research reveals that poverty, mental health, education and childcare are among the biggest issues faced by parents  across Scotland.

Parenting across Scotland and charity The Lines Between have published The Parenting Evidence Review which focuses on the views and experiences of parents and carers living in Scotland.

It brings together existing evidence published in 2023, analysing the findings from 28 reports. Together it comprises research with over 4,000 parents and carers from at least 26 local authority areas in Scotland.

The review found that 66% of the reports focused on low-income or poverty. Parents are concerned with financial insecurity after inflation and increases in gas and electricity caused sharp cost-of-living increases.

And 62% said they want affordable, nutritious food, greater access to mental health provisions and a joined-up approach to care.

Just over 50% of the research cited highlighted education and childcare area of key concern for parents in Scotland.

Parents described inaccessible childcare provision, unaffordable childcare (especially among children ineligible for the 3-4 year early years childcare expansion), and concerns about the relevance of the curriculum for excellence.

Amy Woodhouse, chief executive of Parenting across Scotland, said: “This report gives us an invaluable insight into the issues facing parents and those in a parenting role in Scotland today.

“It is perhaps not surprising that poverty emerged as the most common issue talked about by parents and carers in 2023, but it is unacceptable. Urgent action needs to be taken to ensure that all those in a parenting role have sufficient means to bring up children free from poverty.

“Equally, the challenges faced by parents and carers around accessing childcare, getting support for their mental and physical health and their children’s education should all make us question whether national and local governments are doing all they can to support families.

“ If we want to give children the best possible start in life, then investing in the early years and whole family support must be a priority.”

Lorraine Simpson, Managing Director of The Lines Between added: “Focusing specifically on research published in Scotland in 2023 allowed us to identify topics that are currently affecting parents in Scotland. We depended heavily on quotes to centre parents’ experiences, concerns and priorities and feel the report reverberates with the voices of parents saying what they need most for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families.

“We hope this report shines a light on the valuable recent research produced and outlines areas of importance for future projects.”



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