In West Lothian we have prioritised looked after children as one of the most vulnerable and at risk groups in society. Outcomes for these children tend to be poorer than their peers. Many end up homeless, entering the criminal justice arena and have mental health issues. The national Getting it right for every child approach asserts that parents are (or can become) the most significant contributors to meeting a child’s needs. This is the same for parents of children who are looked after away from home. However, those regularly working with such children and their families accept that these parents need additional support, both to allow them to effectively contribute to the care planning process, and to acquire or develop essential parenting skills.

Accordingly, group-based intervention programmes were developed and delivered which aimed to improve parent-child relations, and ultimately improve the prospects of children returning home, by developing the necessary skills of, and providing appropriate support to, the parents and children concerned. Key objectives were to support parents to develop a better understanding of why children behave the way they do; to offer a range of ideas and strategies on behaviour management and negotiation skills; and to provide appropriate resources to support children to return home.

Following completion of the programmes, which involved 10 parents and 9 children over a 6-month period, four children returned home. This was significant, as returning home had not previously been identified as a viable option for three of these children.  The projected annual saving to the council from these four children returning home is approximately £235,000 per year.

Download the application form: ABO013 Partnership + Parenting in Practice