Family life, and what can be done to support families, is a key priority for me as Children’s Commissioner. I was delighted to be commissioned by the Minister for Equalities to undertake an Independent Review of contemporary family life. This Review was a recommendation of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which found evidence that family life is a key factor in many of the disparities in children’s outcomes.
The Family Review will seek to understand children and families’ perspectives on modern family life, and will explore the interaction between family life and children’s aspirations and outcomes. Through the Family Review, I am investigating how we can improve children’s outcomes by developing the way society and our public services understand the needs of families as a unit, and I will work to identify what is already done successfully in support for families, and what can be improved in current provision.
This afternoon, I was delighted to Chair the second roundtable for the Family Review. This roundtable was an important opportunity to discuss the policy landscape surrounding families with a range of external policy stakeholders from 14 different think tanks and charities.
During the roundtable, we discussed the importance of locally driven services and priorities for families, of early help for families, and of destigmatising families accessing support. We talked about the importance of focusing on support for families with babies to build strong relationships and attachments from the earliest years, and how support can be maintained as children grow into teenagers. We also explored the significance of adopting joined-up approaches to family support across employers, public services, and government departments, and of the impact of poverty on children’s health, wellbeing, happiness, and outcomes. I was also interested to hear participants’ thoughts on ensuring fathers feel included in discourse around family life, and on how we can work together to get support for families to be a top priority for our society across the political divide.
I am very grateful for the wonderful insights and ideas that were provided in today’s roundtable. Over the coming months, I will continue conversations with a range of stakeholders who work to support children and families, ahead of publishing the Family Review in the autumn.