Challenges from the frontline Supporting families with multiple adversities in Scotland during a time of austerity
This report investigates how the challenges of welfare reform and austerity policies are affecting work with vulnerable families in Scotland. The researchers interviewed staff at 14 Intensive Family Support Services run by Barnardo’s Scotland.
The report highlights that the way we support families who are struggling with complex challenges has to change, because the scale and severity of the pressures on these families is changing.
This research was conducted by NSPCC and Barnardo's Scotland.
Authors: Kirsty Scullin and Susan Galloway
- More families are presenting to services in a state of crisis even when these are designed to deliver early intervention or preventative work.
- The cumulative effect of benefit sanctions, benefit delays, price rises in basic commodities such as food and energy is tipping more families into crisis and aggravating pre-existing difficulties such as mental health problems, substance misuse and relationship breakdown.
- The severity of need is visibly growing and caseloads are increasingly complex.
- Services are finding they need to meet basic material needs and stabilise home conditions before intensive family support work can begin.
- The “whole family” approach is in danger of being undermined by the difficult spending decisions public bodies are having to make.
- Services are being forced to shift on those with more severe needs, leading to opportunities for early interventions being missed.
- Shifting resources towards the early years means there are sometimes insufficient resources for vulnerable teenagers.
- Services are having difficulty maintaining the strong, secure and consistent relationships between families and trusted professionals, which are critical factors in supporting families, because of the impact of funding uncertainty.
Recent Scottish Government legislation gives us the opportunity to reshape the way public services respond, to ensure that we can meet the challenge of growing poverty and adversity. They need to tackle child and family poverty so that children’s services can focus on providing support to children and families with the most complex needs.
|Definitions and methodology||7|
|Profile of services||8|
|The growing severity of need||10|
|Austerity - the challenges for helping families||16|
Please cite as: Scullin, K. et al. (2014) Challenges fromthe frontline: supporting families with multiple adversities in a time of austerity. Edinburgh: NSPCC Scotland.
How safe are our children? 2017
How safe are our children? 2017 is the NSPCC's third annual report that compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the four nations in the UK for 2017.
Speaking up for Scotland’s children: the NSPCC’s helpline in Scotland
All Babies Count: prevention and protection for vulnerable babies
Therapeutic services for sexually abused children and young people: scoping the evidence base
Family SMILES: interim evaluation report
Services for children, families and professionals
Our service centres
Child protection in the UK
Keeping children safe
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.
New in the Library
A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.
Helping you keep children safe
Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.
Impact and evidence hub
Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Get expert training and consultancy
Sharing knowledge to keep children safe
Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.