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Working with parents and families

Who works with Parents?

The parenting workforce is large, but also complex and fragmented, with multiple roles reflecting the broad spectrum of services delivered. These differ according to:

  • The level of need of the family, ie from universal services to tiers 3 and 4 targeted interventions.
  • What is provided, ie from informal unstructured support to formal structured interventions, and from information based to "treatment” interventions.
  • Who provides it, ie from Local Authority (LA) or Primary Care Trusts (PCT) - is it run by staff or volunteers?
  • How it is provided, ie through a single service or, as is increasingly the case, on the basis of multi-agency delivery teams.

The titles used to describe particular parenting roles and the roles themselves vary considerably from one LA or service to the next.

In 2009, The National Academy of Parenting Practitioners (NAPP) identified a total of 48 roles, including broad role descriptions such as, educational family support worker.

The roles were then grouped according to their degree of focus on parenting and found that that 13 have parenting as the whole of their role, 17 as part of their role and 18 as ‘tangential’ to the role.

NAPP estimated there to be 12,000 practitioners for whom parenting is the whole of their role (eg parent support advisors in schools, children’s centre outreach workers); and 127,000 practitioners for whom parenting support is part of their role (eg health visitors). In addition there were estimated to be 1 million other individuals for whom parenting may be ‘tangential’ to their role (eg teachers and school nurses), which in practice could mean ‘nearly no involvement with parenting’ (eg a teacher with little contact with parents), or, on a case by case basis, fairly regular involvement (eg a teacher who engages with parents directly).

This information is an extract from the NAPP/CWDC 2009 Parenting Workforce Analysis. 

Read the full report here [PDF 989KB]




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