Parenting in Poor Environments: Stress, Support, and Coping

Parenting in Poor Environments: Stress, Support, and Coping

Parenting in Poor Environments: Stress, Support, and Coping

Parenting in Poor Environments: Stress, Support, and Coping

Synopsis

A study of the effect of poor environments on parenting. The authors explore what professionals and policy-makers can do to assist families living in poverty.

Excerpt

This book documents the findings and conclusions of a large national study of parents living in poor environments which was conducted by the Policy Research Bureau between 1997 and 1999 under the Department of Health's children's research initiative, 'Supporting Parents'. the study involved face-to-face survey interviews with over 1700 parents or main carers of children aged up to 16 years and in-depth qualitative follow-up interviews with a subsample of 40 parents. the initiative of which this study was a part built upon a previous research programme which focused primarily on the workings of the formal child protection system. the research produced under that programme led to the publication of an influential report (Department of Health, 1995) that showed that effective and sensitive child protection systems need to be buttressed by well-targeted support services for families, some of which may well exist outside the remit of formal helping agencies. Our study set out to explore issues of stress, support and coping with parenting from the perspectives of parents themselves, looking not just at the issues for families in difficulties (such at the families who typically make up the case load of child protection agencies) but also at parents who, despite having less than optimal social circumstances, were coping well with the challenging job of raising children in contemporary Britain.

Since the study was commissioned, there has been a rising tide of policy interest and practice innovation in the field of family support, and a broadening of the departmental base within central government in terms of the number of departments involved in developing services. To pick just a few of the key developments, in 1997 a cross-departmental Ministerial Group on the Family was set up by the then new Labour Government, chaired by the Home Secretary. 1998 saw the publication of the Ministerial Group's Green Paper Supporting Families (Home Office 1998) and the announcement by the Treasury and the Department for Education and Employment of a major . . .

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