Greater access to services remains a priority says children's charity
Urgent support is needed to help Scots families, a charity has warned.
Barnardo’s Scotland says support services must be made more available to help families cope with mental health issues, money worries and relationship problems.
It follows a parliamentary debate led by Scottish Labour MSP Martin Whitfield on championing the right to holistic family support.
The recently introduced 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 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 to the fund with the first £50 million allocated for 2022/23.
Barnardo’s said it wants to see: consistent access to family support that is relationship-based; and a network of family support services 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.”