The Bishop of Durham asked a question on the government’s assessment of a report by the Children’s Commissioner as part of the Independent Family Review, on 7th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Children’s Commissioner for England Family and its protective effect: Part 1 of the Independent Family Review, published on 1 September; and in particular, what assessment they have made of the definition of the ‘protective effect’ and its implications for future policy.
Baroness Barran (Con): My Lords, the Children’s Commissioner’s review is centred on the protective effect of families. We agree. A strong and safe family home helps children to meet their full potential in life. That is why we have announced over £1 billion for programmes to improve family services, including family hubs and the Supporting Families programme.
The Children’s Commissioner’s review will help to inform ongoing work so we can be sure to support all types of families.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: I thank the Minister for her reply. The Children’s Commissioner’s excellent report reveals a strong correlation between close familial relationships formed through shared experiences and both the immediate well-being of children and their long-term outcomes. Families are the primary way that families support one another but sometimes, outside support is required and the report reveals that often, families struggle to access this and that it is unequally available across the country. How will His Majesty’s Government ensure equal access to and availability of family support services across the whole country?
Baroness Barran (Con): The right reverend Prelate will have heard me say already the scale of the investment we are making in family services and the importance we place on them. In particular, the Government are committed to opening 75 family hubs in areas which need that support most. But I agree with the right reverend Prelate and stress the striking point in the report regarding who families in need turn to: namely, their families and friends, far, far before any statutory service.