Leading family support charity, Home-Start UK, has launched its first ever manifesto for Wales.

As part of the manifesto the 14 local Home-Starts in Wales have revealed that mental health problems are the leading cause of families seeking their support in the country.

All our childrenAlthough there is no official national or local data collected on the number of parents living with a mental illness, research estimates that more than 2 million children in the UK live with a parent who has a mental health problem.

Despite the scale of this problem 86% of Home-Starts in Wales said that the children they work with whose parents live with mental illness are not always supported by health or social services.

Home-Start is calling for all children who live with a parent affected by a mental illness to be given the support they need. The issue is one of three priority areas in the charity’s first manifesto for Wales.

Entitled All Our Children the manifesto is released today, Thursday 30 April.

Ahead of the 2015 general election and the May 2016 National Assembly elections Home-Start is calling on politicians to focus on three key priority areas, making sure all our children:

  • with a parent suffering from a mental illness are supported. 86% of Home-Starts in Wales say that children with parents suffering with a mental illness are not all supported.
  • are well nourished and protected from hunger and poor nutrition. 93% of Home-Starts in Wales say they work with children not protected from food poverty.
  • have a safe places to live and play. 93% of Home-Starts in Wales say the families they support do not all have this.

Rhos Griffiths, chairman of Home-Start UK’s Wales National Committee, said: “The three priorities that we set out in our first manifesto for Wales represent very basic needs, but inconsistent local practice and often inadequate funding means many children are not getting the support they deserve. We are pleased that the Welsh Government recognises the role of organisations like Home-Start in supporting families, but there is much more that could be done to ensure that all children are receiving the best start in life.”

Shaped by the views the of the 1,238 families Home-Start supports in Wales, All Our Children is a call to action for all political parties to put children’s lives at the heart of policy.

Rob Parkinson, Home-Start UK chief executive added “With 30 years’ experience of supporting families in Wales, Home-Start knows that small steps are often the most lasting. What we are proposing in our manifesto can make a real and immediate difference to the lives of children.”

The new manifesto sets out clear, practical solutions that will enable local people to support vulnerable people.