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Families and Neighbourhoods Study


There is increasing interest in the relationships between parenting, community and outcomes for children. Most child protection and family support theorising now takes an "ecological" perspective to the problems of child protection, child mental health and juvenile crime. While most of the theory, and associated evidence comes form the USA, there is limited information from the UK relating community variables, parenting and outcomes for children. This study is designed examine how parents' relationship with and behaviour towards their children is influenced by the community, which should add to the understanding of how interventions can be designed. Using structured and qualitative parental interviews, focus groups with young people and community observations, the study is investigating which community characteristics are of most positive and negative relevance to parenting; what resources parents draw on at different stages in the family life cycle to help them parenting; the community resources drawn on by children themselves, once they become more autonomous; and which families are the most vulnerable to community difficulties with particular attention to understanding the relationship between minority status and community characteristics.


The study is taking place in four communities in England: part of an ethnically diverse inner city; a medium sized established town; a small coastal town; and the suburb of a large city. Parents with children aged 1 year, 5 years and 11 years are being interviewed. The study is directed by Professor Jacqueline Barnes and is funded by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.