Parenting is an activity undertaken by those who bring up children. This includes mothers and fathers, foster carers and adoptive parents, step-parents, and grandparents. Local authorities also act as corporate parents for children and young people in their care.
Children in Wales has seen supporting parents and families as a key part of our work for many years. Young children are closely linked to a family unit, hence the UNCRC strongly recognises and supports parents and families and their crucial role and responsibilities for protecting and caring for children and helping them acquire values and standards (Articles 5 and 18).
It is widely agreed that it is important for families to be supported in ways that are appropriate to their needs in order to build and create resilience and self-reliance. By equipping families with the skills and support they need at the earliest stage possible and building on the strengths of parents we can help them create supportive and enriching environments for their children. This will give them every chance of reaching their potential in line with the Welsh Government's seven core aims for children and young people.
The seven aims summarise the UNCRC and form the basis for decisions on priorities and objectives nationally.
Parents voices for change:
With funding secured from Welsh Government, Children in Wales are undertaking an exciting new project to engage parents nationally. With a view to developing a Wales wide platform for gathering parent’s views, which would lead to more meaningful participation in the form of coproduction. It builds on a scoping exercise undertaken between November 2021 and January 2022, which has informed our approach.
The parameters for our engagement with parents supports Article 3 and 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to promote parenting in the context of the child’s best interest and the needs of parents.
Building on PHASE 1 of our programme and the findings from our scoping exercise, survey and report, we wanted to harness the motivation and appetite from organisations, local authorities and parents themselves to move forward to the next stage.
Through the engagement with parents, they clearly told us
‘They want to have a voice and be heard’
90% of parents consulted felt it was extremely important that they be listened to and given the opportunity to share their views, ideas and opinions.
79% have never or do not think they have every shared their views with Welsh Government.
Currently only 36% of parents felt confident to share their views on a Wales wide level.
Parents would like a value-led, relational and supportive approach that recognises their expertise and experience. Information needs to be clear, free from jargon and accessible in a variety of formats. Involvement, as early as possible in the process, is required to make sure that parents are really listened to and provided with effective feedback. i
The second part of this project will work towards establishing a
‘A Wales wide system/platform for gathering parent’s view’
Offering a two way approach to enable an avenue for parent’s voice to be heard and to feed into policy development’
To deliver this, we will work with the National Parenting and Family Support Strategic Leads Network as well as the organisations engaged as part of PHASE 1 of the project.
PHASE 2 will initially focus on harnessing the engagement of parents already involved in local participatory structures with the support of the range of organisations engaged in our programme of work to date. Our ambition is; to steadily grow this model, by reaching out to parents and organisations in other local authority areas, addressing the current gaps with the aim of establishing a national structure for parents to feed into wider policy development.
If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact: Anna Westall (Policy Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org