SCIE media releases 2010

Think child, think parent, think family: a briefing for senior managers

3 November 2010

After a certain amount of time, I became my Mum: I’d phone up and be my Mum and write letters. It’s what I did to get people to listen because if I wasn’t doing it, it wasn’t getting done. I was 14. Now I have a support network, everything’s changed. Our worker ‘treated’ us both and we’re happier.

Louise, Liverpool (to hear Louise and others speaking go here)

Better joined up working “essential”, says SCIE

A new quick-read briefing is launched today which supports senior managers in improving the health, wellbeing and life chances of parents with mental health problems and their families. Authors SCIE, supported by the NHS Confederation, say that better joined-up working between services for adults and children’s services is essential to achieving this.

In the past, services for families with a parent with an enduring mental health problem, have tended to focus on the clinical treatment of the adult. SCIE is calling for agencies to review whether the individual and combined needs of children, parents and carers are considered by adult mental health, children’s services, healthcare and other services.

SCIE Deputy Chief Executive Amanda Edwards says:

We’re encouraging senior managers in health, social care and other settings to lead cultural change by challenging practice which does not support families. It’s also vital to ensure that all the various agencies involved are working collaboratively. Managers can also embed whole-family approaches into things like supervision and continuing personal development.

Rosalind Turner, Chair of the ADCS/ADASS Joint Committee says:

ADCS and ADASS have been working closely to develop thinking on the whole family approach and transition planning through their joint committee. We fully endorse the findings of the research and this summary which provides clear and concise messages for senior managers to support them in this complex area

The challenge

SCIE say that staff in all sectors face high work pressures. The absence of clear prioritisation of this area of work can make it difficult to see it as a ‘must-do’. Senior Managers need to explain to the workforce and partner organisations the importance of taking a ‘joined-up’ approach when working with families. They can support frontline workers and managers to implement change and challenge practice which does not support families.

Poor outcomes for families and children

Families affected by parental mental ill health can experience poor outcomes.

Test sites

SCIE is working with five English local authority areas to put the Think child, think parent, think family guide in to practice: Birmingham, Lewisham, Liverpool, North Somerset and Southwark, and all five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland. The sites are implementing the guide to suit local priorities. Actions include; updating screening and assessment processes to ensure that they support staff to ask the right questions; training staff, often in multi-agency groups; and placing adult mental health staff in children’s centres.

Good practice in reality

Good services for families affected by parental mental ill health should:


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: