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Report: Helping parents to parent

20th February 2017

Public policy can have an impact on parenting behaviour and achieve positive outcomes for children, but there is currently a lack of evidence on what works – according to new research by the Social Mobility Commission.

The report says that parenting interventions can be successful – particularly those that focus on parenting styles, the creation of a supportive home learning environment, relationships within the family and parental stress and mental health.

Programmes can give parents a greater understanding of child development, develop parents’ confidence in their role and support both parents to become actively involved in a child’s upbringing.

The ‘Helping parents to parent’ report was commissioned by the Social Mobility Commission to bring together evidence on parenting behaviours and the extend to which public policy can support parents. It examined 28 interventions and programmes in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Key recommendations include:

  1. There is a need for highly trained practitioners to implement and deliver parenting interventions.
  2. There is a need for more family centres or single-access platforms that provide an umbrella of universal parenting support and services and are easily accessible for all families.
  3. Home visiting programmes, or those with a home visiting element, have the potential to deliver more success in improving children’s outcomes.
  4. There is a lack of long-term evidence on parenting interventions and programmes. The government should commission further research on this issue and there needs to be a robust and consistent tool for evaluation.