Although there was a substantial evidence base developing around the needs and views of birth parents and family members, service development in Scotland in response to these needs has been limited. Therefore, commissioned by the Scottish Government, this project was designed to support practitioners, policy makers, and all relevant professionals to:
- understand the needs of birth parents who are living apart from their child(ren) as a result of child welfare interventions,
- consider how their agency or setting can respond to these distinct needs based on available evidence.
Supported throughout by a practice group representing a range of organisations across Scotland, the report produced from this project compromises of 3 distinct sections, each of which can be understood and read in its own right:
- Part 1: Provides a short review of the key principles for practice to support for birth parents based on the existing international evidence base
- Part 2: Presents the experiences and views of birth parents from a small-scale, in-depth qualitative study with birth mothers in Scotland
- Part 3: Identifies promising practice examples of services that provide different models of specialist support across Scotland for birth parents and presents reflections from practitioners delivering these services on potential barriers and facilitators in providing timely, effective and compassionate support for these parents
Together, these three parts of the report provide a broad picture of the needs of birth parents who have lost a child or children to ‘care’, and of the support and services that are currently available in Scotland.
While the project has been targeted specifically to the Scottish context, the applicability of the key messages of the report goes beyond Scotland. We hope that the report provokes dialogue, increases the visibility of the needs of birth parents, and supports ongoing work to provide more timely, far reaching, and comprehensive support to birth family members across Scotland.