University hosts child wellbeing conference

A conference has been held at the University which heard from experts on child poverty, children’s rights and welfare, and reform policies.

Speakers at the conference included Helen Goodman, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Work and Pensions, and Beverly Hughes, formerly Minister for Children and Families.

The results of a study carried out by researchers from the University were also presented at the Wellbeing of Children, Young People and Families in the UK conference which revealed that unemployed lone parents were keen to return to work and valued training and further education, but felt they were held back by the lack of quality childcare.

Dr Stephanie Petrie, Centre for the Study of the Child, the Family and the Law, said: “In order for lone parents to seek and find work, we must first understand their experiences of raising children on their own and the major barriers. The happiness of their children was central to their decision making, but childcare was often a cause of emotional distress for both parents and their children.

“Current programmes of job support did not take into account what lone parents needed to make sure children were happy and healthy. Lone Parent Advisors assumed that family and friends could help with childcare but we found many do not have this option.”

The study report recommends that lone parents should not be subject to income gaps when moving from the benefit system into employment and training and education courses should be flexible around school hours and holidays.

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