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What is Nesta supporting Family Lives to do?

Nesta is supporting Family Lives with £249,990 funding to bring the US-based Parent Child Home Program (PCHP) to the UK under license. Through this fund, 275 trained volunteers will be mobilised to support over 300 families. Family Lives will independently validate the impact of PCHP in England on children and parents, and will also learn how best to support and retain volunteer home visitors throughout.

Who is Family Lives?

Family Lives is a national family and parent charity providing advice and support to families face-to-face, online, and via their helplines. Family Lives delivers a range of projects working with families most in need, including families of prisoners, and parents with drug and alcohol addictions. Volunteers are central to Family Lives.

What is the programme to be scaled?

The Parent Child Home Program (PCHP) is a well-evidence, US-based programme, focussed on working one to one with parents over a sustained period in their home environment.

The PCHP model - which has been running in the US for over 50 years - is based on twice-weekly home visits, for up to two years, by trained home visitors (both staff and volunteer). The curriculum is designed on two cycles – each cycle involves a minimum of 23 weeks of visits (46 visits); so every family receives at least 92 home visits over the course of the programme.

Home visitors receive initial training and ongoing support in the following areas: child development; parental engagement; building respectful, trusting relationships with families and communities; the ethics of home visiting; and cultural competence.

The programme addresses a range of outcomes for parents, including a child’s cognitive gains, social and emotional gains, and home environment outcomes.

PCHP has a strong evidence base of effectiveness in the US. Children on the programme are 50 per cent more likely to measure ready for kindergarten, they score 2.5 times higher on social-emotional skills assessment than their peers, and they enter school performing 10 months above their chronological age.

Ambitions for the Early Years Social Action Fund

Despite investment in Children’s Centres, and funding for two and three year olds to attend nursery, there is still a cohort of vulnerable families where children start school significantly behind their peers. PCHP addresses this school readiness gap, by supporting families in their own homes with a proven curriculum, which models positive behaviours for parents that enhances their children’s development.

Utilising the Early Years Social Action Fund, Family Lives will pilot delivery of PCHP in Nottingham, Newcastle and one London borough. Following the pilot, Family Lives will become a Regional Training Centre, allowing it to train and license other organisations to deliver PCHP in the UK, ensuring as many children as possible can be supported.

How this opportunity relates to wider Family Lives goals

Family Lives believes that all families should have access to active support and understanding. Supporting parents and infants through pregnancy and early years, and providing health, development and relationship support, is one of our core delivery areas. The introduction, delivery and roll out of the Parent Child Home Program in the UK will allow us to address a specific target group who are currently falling through the gaps, and will help ensure that more children start school with the same opportunities to thrive as their peers.