Children's Plan: Charter to guarantee support for parents

By Tristan Donovan

| 11 December 2007

The Children's Plan sets out a vision for a "whole-family approach" to children's services.

It proposes a number of measures to increase support for parents and their families, including a national Parents' Charter setting out the minimum level of help mothers and fathers should expect from government.

Local authorities will also be required to produce local parent charters detailing what services parents are entitled to.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) plans to set up a national helpline for parents called Parent Know-How and a website to allow mothers and fathers to find local support services.

A total of £34m has been set aside during the next three years to provide two expert parenting advisers in every local authority area. These advisers will be based in extended schools.

Parents will be given a "red book" to help them keep track of their children's health development up to the age of 11.

A national Parents' Panel will be created to advise the government on children, young people and family policy.

Government will also do more to ensure services work with fathers not just mothers and provide support to parents and children after family break-ups.

There will be pilots of intensive phone-based support services for parents during the next three years, similar to a project carried out by Parentline Plus.

Sure Start children's centres will also carry out more outreach work with parents.

Young carers will also get more support through an extension of the Family Pathfinders scheme.

More plans to help young carers will, however, be announced after the Department of Health completes its review of its Carers Strategy.

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