The Committee considered the report of the Corporate Director Children and Young People’s Services which provided Members with an update on Durham’s progress on the national Reducing Parental Conflict Programme.
The Operations Manager, One Point Service was in attendance to present the report and deliver a presentation that provided the Definition; Overview; Impact on Children and Young People; Durham’s Journey; Durham’s Graduated Approach; Parent Peer Support and Next Steps (for copy of report and presentation, see file of minutes).
The Chair asked if the links to the ‘Relationships Matter’ and ‘Me You and Baby Too’ websites could be circulated to Members.
Councillor Walton thanked the Officer for her presentation and asked about the perception that this was for families who were at risk of domestic abuse but what about the families who thought that this did not apply to them but there was still arguing in the household. She then referred to established parents but were new to teenagers and it would not occur to her to go onto a website but would talk to other parents. She referred to the comment that they attend as it was parents teaching and not professionals and stated that the parents were the professionals and would talk if the badge was not there, so there was an opportunity to network and say you are not at risk, but parenting is hard. She then indicated that it was great engaging with dads but what about other parents in the community such as aunties, uncles and grandparents. She commented that the feedback was brilliant and the fact that people were not connecting parents as professionals they needed to embrace this as parents are the professionals.
The Operations Manager, One Point and Think Family Service responded that parents are the experts and the difference about the programme was the way in which it was perceived that it was not about professionals preaching teaching but was about parents facilitating other parents to come together and provide that peer support so was not seen as a talking shop programme, the parent led work was having an impact. Their challenge was that arguments happen in everyday life and was about landing it as early as possible and hoped that the family hub agenda would help to achieve this and normalise it. She also commented that it was not just dads it was around the wider social network.
Councillor Jopling commented that disagreements take place in every home, and she did not know how many people knew about the service. She asked how they overcome parents who did not engage. She then referred to the video shown and how you could easily pick out the two children who were affected the most.
The Operations Manager, One Point and Think Family Service responded that they needed to get the word out to educate at the earliest opportunity that this was a thing. Domestic abuse was well known but conflict was everywhere, and they needed to manage it constructively so by training the likes of GPs, Health Visitors, Family Hub staff etc., around having those ongoing conversations and not going in heavy, so parents do not have to look for support it is in front of them.
Cllr Jopling asked if they were engaging with charities who do this type of work.
The Operations Manager, One Point and Think Family Service indicated that part of their multi-agency working group they had voluntary community sector organisations representation. They use their alliance programme to get the word out. If one parent did not want to engage that was fine, they would try to get the partner engaged but this was a voluntary engagement if one parent were keen this was better to have some impact and they would work with the one parent.
The Chair thanked the Officer for her presentation and commented that this would help reduce domestic abuse.
Resolved: That the report and presentation be noted and the progress of the development and implementation of Reducing Parental Conflict support in County Durham supported.