Home-Start Policy

 

Home-Start UK provides strategic direction and leadership through support, guidance, advice and services to Home-Start schemes.  Home-Start UK has a role through the quality assurance system to be the guardian of the quality of the Home-Start service.  The following Home-Start Policy refers to the whole network – Home-Start UK and Home-Start schemes.

 

As one of the UK’s leading family support charities Home-Start has extensive knowledge of the issues faced by parents and children in the UK. We use our experience supporting families to influence and respond to policy direction in the four nations of the UK as well as British Forces families in Cyprus and Germany.

Home-Start’s policy team operates from our London office, as well as in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.  We:

  • link the families and volunteers we work with and the issues that affect them to Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly;
  • support our local Home-Starts to respond locally to policy initiatives that impact families, volunteers and small charities;
  • use evidence from our own research to inform debates around family policy;
  • influence politicians to adopt policies and introduce new legislation which reflect the needs of families in the UK;
  • contribute to government consultations; and
  • work with other organisations to bring attention to issues affecting children and families and create a strong message around family support.

Nutrition

 

Home-Start believes all our children should be well nourished and protected from hunger and poor nutrition.

Home-Start asks that these steps are taken to make a difference:

  • Investigate the specific impact of food poverty on children’s physical, mental and social development.
  • Weigh children at 12 months to:
    • permit earlier intervention by parents, health and social care agencies and provide sensitive support to establish better eating habits.
    • allow better analysis of when children are gaining weight.
    • Inform the training and engagement of health and social care workers

Mental health

 

Home-Start believes all our children with a parent suffering from a mental health problem should be supported.

Home-Start asks that these steps are taken to make a difference:

  • Offer every parent who is at risk of, or suffering from mental ill health or mental health problems a trained befriending volunteer.
  • Collect data on children whose parents or carers have mental health difficulties and report on such data nationally.
  • Train specialist mental health midwives for every maternity service.

Housing

Home-Start believes all our children should have safe places to live and play.Home-Start asks that these steps are taken to make a difference:

  • Ensure temporary housing is suitable for children and families.
  • Provide key workers/volunteers for all families living in temporary accommodation.
  • Prioritise the right to play in policies for housing, education, childcare and health.
  • Collect and analyse local and national data on the causes of children’s injuries to inform the development of locally targeted community interventions and a national strategy on childhood injury prevention.