Written by IFF Research

Improving holistic family support for children, young people and their families in Scotland

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The Scottish Government commissioned IFF Research to conduct an evaluation of the Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF) to understand what the first year of the funding is being used for, how family support is being delivered and how families are finding the support.

We used qualitative methods which involved capturing the views of managers and frontline practitioners who support families, as well as children, young people and parents/carers themselves. Alongside this, we analysed reports from Children’s Services Planning Partnerships who are delivering the family support.

About the Whole Family Wellbeing Funding

Providing children, young people and their families with the support they need, where and when they need it is the key aim of the Scottish Government’s WFWF.

The Scottish Government is committed to investing £500m in transformational change to improve holistic family support and deliver this aim.

Support can take many forms e.g. helping young people with their mental wellbeing, helping children whose parents are in prison, helping pupils to stay engaged in school, helping families with disabilities and helping families who are affected by poverty. WFWF exists within the context of ongoing national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted family needs and contributed to systemic inequalities (in terms of health, education, income and other wider inequalities).

Key findings from our research

We were able to understand how funding was being used and identify learnings that can be built on for future funding years:

  • Some existing family support services are starting to be redesigned or expanded based on feedback from children, young people and their families.
  • New services are being designed so that families can access support where and when they need it.
  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivering support. Each family has different support needs and local areas have different approaches to addressing needs in their area, and funded local partners are considering this when designing family support services.
  • Family services need to do more to continuously engage a range of children, young people and parents to support design and delivery so it is accessible, timely and relevant.
  • Services are beginning to change the way they collect information from children, young people and families.
  • Local areas are working together more collaboratively to deliver family support services.
  • Not all local areas were confident using collected data for strategic decision making, but they expressed a desire to work to overcome this, with Scottish Government.

“IFF’s Year 1 evaluation is essential to help us understand the experiences of Children’s Services Planning Partnerships in local areas, as well as the views of families who use the family support services”.

Scottish Government

Next steps

We are currently setting up Year 2 of the evaluation that looks to continue to assess the wider family system and begin exploring the effect of WFWF on children, young people and families.

You can read the full findings from Year 1 of the research study here.

If you want to learn more about WFWF, you can visit the Scottish Government website at Whole Family Wellbeing Funding or contact hello@iffresearch.com for more information. You find also find the report appendix here.