Parental mental health problems – research review update

An on-line summary of information about research, policy and practice developments relating to parental mental health problems and their impact on family members. With reflection questions for practitioners.


Commissioned by Community Care Inform (2013)

How does the Family Drug and Alcohol Court fit with the current changes to family justice?

An article arising from our work evaluating FDAC. It discusses the evaluation findings in the light of the recommendations of the Family Justice Review.

Ryan M, Harwin J, Lewis G and Tunnard J (2012) Family Law, Vol 42, October, pp 1228-1234

Champions for Children: research briefings for local authority councillors

A series of research briefings providing information about key research findings, good practice and policy developments that will help councillors improve outcomes for children and families in need by ensuring that adequate and effective services are provided for them. A fully referenced text for each topic is available on RiP’s website:

  • The cost benefits of early intervention (2011)
  • Protecting children and young people from significant harm (2010)
  • Outcomes and why they matter (2008)
  • Promoting mental health for children across children’s services (2007)
  • Safeguarding (2006)
  • Transition of adolescents to adult mental health services (2006)
  • Intervening in the Early Years (2005)
  • School Inclusion for all children (2005)
  • Harnessing family and community support [Family Group Conferences and Family and Friends’ Care] (2004)
  • Enabling Disabled Children and their Families (2004)
  • Recruitment and Retention of Foster Carers (2003)

Commissioned by Research in Practice

The involvement of fathers in decisions about and care of their children: a survey of Children’s Services

Two chapters in Fathers Matter: research findings on fathers and their involvement with social care services.

Family Rights Group (2006)

How literature reviews can be written to influence practice: the RiP approach

A description of the methodology used to prepare three research and practice reviews – about parental problem drinking, parental substance misuse and parental mental health problems.

Journal of Integrated Care, Vol 12: 2 April (2004)

Evaluation of the Parent’s Information Service – A National Telephone Helpline

A report of a telephone survey of a sample of adults who have contacted YoungMinds because of concerns about the mental health needs of their child or young relative. With comments on the service received, the outcomes for families, and their unmet needs, and sections giving information about research studies and policy issues for each of the main themes covered by the Information Service.

YoungMinds (2002)

Parental drug misuse – a review of impact and intervention studies

A review of research about the impact of parental drug misuse and promising interventions. The findings are linked to the dimensions of children’s lives that practitioners will be familiar with through their assessment work under the NAF and the CAF. They draw mainly on studies published in the past ten years in the UK and Ireland, with additional material from the USA about intervention studies because of the lack of this material in UK and Irish research. The review is produced separately from the one on problem drinking, below, because of the important differences between the two issues.

Research in Practice (2002)

Working with Fathers

This book extracts the findings about fathers, and about the range of professional responses to them, in the research studies that informed Child Protection: Messages from Research (DH 1995). It discusses the impact of fathers on children’s development, gives examples of good practice in working with fathers, highlights issues for future research and lists useful organisations and contacts.

Radcliffe Medical Press (commissioned by DH) (2000)

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court Evaluation Project: Final Report

The final report of the evaluation of the first 18 months of the operation of this new approach to care proceedings. For more details see the current work and research sections of the website.

Commissioned by Nuffield Foundation and Brunel University

Learning Development and Support Services Project. An audit of the needs of 197 children in touch with Education Welfare Services in 4 local authority areas.

Commissioned by the National Association of Social Workers in Education (NASWE), and funded by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), with a view to understanding more about the ability of education and support services staff to address the needs of children and their parents.

The report describes the work led by RTB and undertaken collectively by a large group of professionals from the Education Welfare Service in four English local authorities. The audit of child and family circumstances identified that children whose pressing needs related to their parents’ mental health difficulties and traumatic experiences, and the need for improvements in care at home and adult/child relationships were found to have the most serious needs and the least successful outcomes.
Recommendations included focused work to develop services to address the common needs across the sites and for a future strategy underpinned by effective multi-agency mechanisms for assessment, planning and review. The involvement of adult services was seen as crucial to this strategic development.

Brown, L. and Ryan, M. (2008) Learning Development and Support Services Project. An audit of the needs of 197 children in touch with Education Welfare Services in 4 local authority areas. London: RyanTunnardBrown