Integrating services for families with different levels of need can benefit all service users without increasing stigma, a study for Action for Children has found.
The probe, which examined four family support projects, challenged assumptions that families with lower needs will be deterred from using services alongside those with more complex problems. It found they could successfully be integrated into services, through skilled facilitation.
Findings were unveiled today at the National Children and Adult Services Conference. The four centres examined were an early years children’s centre in Exeter, a family centre supporting children and young people up to their late teens in London, and referral-based centres in Pontlottyn, South Wales, and Moray, in north Scotland.
In the Exeter centre, families with particular challenges were integrated into universal parenting groups without any evidence of stigma for anyone.
Services provided by the projects ranged from parenting classes to practical support, such as food parcels for families from deprived backgrounds.