A new report reveals the makeup of families is changing and services are not adapting alongside
An influential coalition of charities says a new report into the changing face of families reveals major problems in support services.
The report, commissioned by umbrella body Parenting across Scotland, highlights major changes to Scotland’s households and families over the last 10 years.
One of its key findings is that the number of children in care in Scotland has increased by almost 50% in a decade.
Families are juggling multiple responsibilities and providing large amounts of care while continuing to be active in the economy
The overall number of children in care has jumped 49% over the period and the number of these youngsters looked after by relatives in kinship care arrangements is almost four times higher than 10 years ago.
As a result, the report warns kinship carers could themselves be a vulnerable group, as most are grandparents, amongst which there are high levels of disability.
The report also shows the proportion of people providing unpaid care to family members or friends remained stable – but the number of hours increased.
The report says in many instances this type of care had replaced government support and many carers were left to fend for themselves.
In 2011, 44% of unpaid carers provided 20 or more hours of care a week (an increase from 37% in 2001), while 27% provided 50 or more hours of care a week (an increase from 24% in 2001).
Elsewhere, the report which draws on census data from 2001 and 2011, found the number of households in Scotland increased by 200,000 to 2.4 million.
Of these households, it discovered that women were far more likely to be looking after the home or family than men.
In 2011, women were six times more likely to fulfil this role.
Clare Simpson, Parenting across Scotland project manager said the report threw up as many questions as it answers.
However, she added: “What’s really clear is families are juggling multiple responsibilities and providing large amounts of care while continuing to be active in the economy.
“Women are almost six times as likely as men to be looking after the home and family, and are also much more likely to be working part time.
“To ensure families are able to flourish in these hard pressed times, it is imperative we ensure the right supports are in place to allow parents to work.
“High quality, flexible childcare which parents can afford and family friendly working practices are crucial to the health of Scotland’s families.”
Marion Davis, policy advisor at One Parent Families Scotland, said policy-makers needed more information like that contained in the report to inform their decision-making.
“The report on families in Scotland will make a valuable contribution to ensuring parents and children receive the support and services they need,” she said.