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Family Review published today: Family and its protective effects

1st September 2022

Alison Morton, iHV Executive Director joined leading academics, policymakers and parliamentarians at the Policy Exchange today for the launch of the Children’s Commissioner’s Family Review.

In the wake of the pandemic, the government asked Dame Rachel de Souza and her office to research what modern families look like and where they turn to for support. Dame Rachel presented the key findings which drew on both qualitative and quantitative research and the voices of half a million children.

In presenting the review’s findings, Dame Rachel stated,

“I have heard about the power that family holds. A power that provides a shield from life’s challenges – a protective effect against adversity. Families recognise it and those who work with them acknowledge it.  And importantly, for the first time, this Review proves and quantifies exactly what the protective effect of family is….

“For a lot of families, this protection and support will come from their own networks – parents, grandparents, friends. Families around the country told me how much they loved and valued their family, how important it was to them, and how much they cherished it.

“Most families will choose to access professional services to support them at various stages of family life, like health care workers or post-natal care. We need to make sure that these services can be easily accessed by everyone and provide good quality care.

“For a small percentage of families who are really struggling, protection and support may need to come from elsewhere.  When strong and positive relationships – with professionals and peers –  were in place, help was often welcome and valued with many services doing an exceptional job of supporting families. But I also heard of the challenges faced by those accessing support, from unnecessary barriers that brought stigma and complication, to high thresholds for help. This needs to change.

“This ground-breaking research has provided us with a deep understanding what families look like. Their experience of family influences and impacts every part of their lives, inside and outside of the family home. For children it shapes their future. This is why, the Government needs to prioritise how they can put families at the heart of all of policy decisions. This is the moment to make a difference in every family’s life.”

The voices of parents and children are captured throughout the report. The key themes centre on the enduring ‘love’ and bonds between family members through the inevitable ‘ups and downs’ of family life. A mother cited in the report described this sentiment:

“Family means that we share our lives together, good times and bad. We listen, we laugh, we argue, we forgive, we communicate. Family for me is warm, caring and protective. My children are safe when we’re together. Family means creating a super strong support hub that lasts a lifetime.”

The report also highlighted the importance of state intervention when families are unable to provide this support.


This includes the Q&A discussion with a reiteration of the Children’s Commissioner’s support for the ‘First 1001 Days’ and health visiting following a question from Alison Morton.

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