Supporting inter-parental relationships with the Local Family Offer (LFO)
When children are exposed to certain types of conflict between their parents it affects their emotional, social and physical wellbeing, from a very young age and into adult life. The importance of improving family relationships is clear. What is not clear is who should help and how they can do it.
Over a period of two years OnePlusOne worked in partnership with Innovation Unit to offer consultation and support to 12 local authorities in developing local systems designed to pick up and where possible prevent, the damaging effects of interparental conflict.
Many local authorities who have piloted new approaches to relationship support were already convinced by the evidence but have had to make the case for change across a range of different services encouraging them to embrace new ways of working.
As a starting point we designed an opportunity assessment tool that provided a visual map of a range of stressors and risks linked to parental relationship breakdown such as financial instability, poor housing, mental health issues. This helped local authorities to see where and how they needed to focus their attention.
Dwynwen Stepien, Head of early intervention support service at Croydon council said:
“We know that lots of parents in Croydon are on low wages and work back to back handing their children over in between. Through the Local Family Offer programme we decided to provide training to frontline staff in Gateway, the single point of access for employment support and housing, budgeting and welfare rights advice. They can now explore relationship issues with parents, signpost them to support and make referrals when appropriate.”
We have co-designed a Resource Pack for the Local Family Offer which provides inspiration, shared learning and practical tools for professionals, organisations and localities who believe that investing in supporting relationships between parents is fundamental to improving outcomes for children.
Access all the materials developed from the Local Family Offer programme:
– Jan Mitcheson Deputy Director OnePlusOne
– Jenny Reynolds Senior Research Associate OnePlusOne
– Penny Mansfield Director OnePlusOne
– Lester Coleman Head of Research OnePlusOne
If you'd like to read more about the Local Family Offer and our research, click here.