As Scotland’s Independent Care Review releases its major report on our social care services, Home-Start in Scotland shares our recommendations for how those services should adapt to make Scotland the best place in the world for our children to grow up.

Home-Start knows that the best place for a child to grow up is with their family, when it is in their best interests to do so. Every day we work with families to build parents’ confidence and get them to a more secure place.

Increasingly, Home-Starts are working with families who are coping with complex issues, or where a child is considered ‘at risk’ – meaning that they are on the child protection register, or have a similar order through the Children’s Hearing System.

These families are used to having professionals coming in and out of their lives, but Home-Start is able to take a different approach. We focus on the parent to find out what can be done differently, and where the parent is really needing help.

This practical support comes in many different forms: from weaning recipes, to helping check benefits payments, to sorting out housing problems, or dealing with rent arrears issues. There are a lot of complex issues that prevent a family from moving on in life, and a helping hand to tackle these is vital when problems are mounting at the door.

We are telling the Inquiry – and the Scottish Government – that when it comes to protecting children and improving the social care system, we must consider investment in the early intervention family support that will prevent a bad situation from becoming a risky one.

Getting it right for every child starts with getting it right for every parent. Like many others we have been infuriated if unsurprised by the revelations of the inquiry – that 45% of care leavers will suffer mental health issues, or that 30% of prisoners were once in care. Our vulnerable youngsters deserve better, but we know that these complex issues do not start the second they reach care – we know that they are starting much earlier, and our prevention must too.

Rachel from Home-Start Stirling talks about the 28% increase in referrals from families dealing with complex issues that they have seen in the last year, and the incredible impact that consistent parenting support can have on the whole family: