Quarterly Newsletter – July 2012

The July issue of the Improving Futures Evaluation and Learning quarterly newsletter is available to download below.

If you have any news items you would like to submit please send them to improvingfutures@uk.ecorys.com.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you feel may be interested in subscribing to the newsletter and other related emails.

Click here to download our Quarterly Newsletter – July 2012

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New report on troubled families by Louise Casey

A new report was published this week by Louisa Casey who is heading up the troubled families team at the Department for Communities and Local Government. The report is a result of in-depth interviews with families with multiple problems. It found that problems were usually entrenched across generations, showing that “Intergenerational transmission of problems such as being in care, poor parenting, violence, abuse, low aspirations, non-attendance in school and few or no qualifications was rife.”

The report recognises that parents and families are the biggest single influence on children’s lives and that the interviews with families showed that, “The key problem for these families is that the influence of their families is negative not positive and therefore breaking any cycle is almost impossible.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Shared parenting key to children’s futures, says Work and Pensions Minister

Maria Miller, the Work and Pensions Minister, has announced a new fund of £14 million to develop effective and innovative support services for separated and separating families, as a way of promoting collaborative parenting in separated families.

The new services will help parents to foster collaborative relationships with each other after separation, including agreeing child maintenance.

Maria Miller said, “The fund will be for interventions that can help parents work together, including intensive counselling, emotional support and mediation, as well as online and telephone advice. These kinds of services are best delivered outside of government and there is considerable expertise, notably in the voluntary sector, of providing them.”

The bulk of the funding will be distributed towards the Innovation Fund.

Maria Miller added, “If separation is unavoidable then having both parents actively involved in their lives is the best way for children to develop. So this is a challenge for organisations and individuals to suggest how we can make this important investment in families really count.”

The Child Support Agency currently costs the taxpayer approximately £0.5 billion per annum. Department for Work and Pensions research has suggested that the majority of separated parents currently using the CSA believe they would be likely to make their own maintenance arrangements with the right help and support.

Read the full story (Department for Work and Pensions).

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New report on resilience and what makes families better able to cope with life’s challenges

Why do some families seem better equipped to overcome problems than others, and what can we learn from their experiences? What form does family support take and how is it changing?

The Scottish Widows Centre for the Modern Family has published its second report entitled “Family Resilience”, exploring the qualities that make up resilience in some families and taking a closer look at what makes individual families better able to cope with challenges and crises.

This follows on from their earlier report “Families” which identified ten modern family types based on shared attitudes to family life and the structures of individual families.The new report looks at the function of the family and its role in providing support and resilience to its constituent members.

Download the PDF report (Centre for Modern Families).

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Tracking outcomes from early intervention with families

 A new online database has been launched, which will help to shed light on the issues faced by families with complex needs across the UK and how to work more effectively with them to improve the life chances of their children.

The Improving Futures Monitoring Information System has been developed by public policy research organisation Ecorys on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).

It is part of an extensive five-year evaluation that BIG has commissioned to assess the impact and outcomes from its £26m Improving Futures programme. Through the programme, BIG is funding 26 partnerships across the UK that bring together local voluntary sector and public services to give joined-up and earlier support to families with multiple and complex problems whose eldest children are aged five to 11 years old.

The new system is open to practitioners from the 26 partnerships to share data about the families being supported through the programme, including positive and negative aspects of their lives and their relationships. Practitioners will use a set of 36 ‘risk and strength’ indicators that have been identified through a detailed review of literature – previous research and evaluation reports – and in consultation with the funded partnerships.  This  ‘evidence paper’ is available here: IFMIS Evidence Paper


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