Our approach

The About Families partnership sought to ensure that the changing needs of parents, including families affected by disability, are met by providing accessible and relevant evidence to inform services.

About Families considered how parenting issues relate to families affected by disability as well as those not affected. It aimed to enable parenting professionals to provide services appropriate for all families, and to help those working in the disability field have a deeper understanding of parenting and family issues.

The project enabled organisations and services which support families to:

  • be more aware of the needs of parents and families; both through learning from research, and consulting their own service users;
  • be more aware of current research on key parenting topics;
  • be better able to develop evidence-based services- using an action-planning approach;
  • make better use of existing resources such as research evidence and service level data; and
  • include parents and families in the design of service delivery and support them to articulate their needs.

Evidence to action
About Families About Families developed an innovative ‘evidence to action’ process to enable service delivery to be informed by relevant, reliable evidence.

Topics were selected in response to challenges facing parents using family support services run by the partners, including those who call ParentLine Scotland. A range of evidence on each topic was gathered and communicated through accessible reports and briefings and discussion. The issues from these reports were explored with a range of stakeholders through participative events and a Community of Practice. All evidence reports were reviewed by relevant academics and service professionals.

Following discussion events, About Families worked with some stakeholders to apply findings to their services. This was done by creating and implementing action plans to develop services using a range of planning tools, and thinking about how to involve service users in these developments. An emphasis was placed on supporting and facilitating this process to increase organisations’ capacity to use evidence in practice effectively in the future.

evidence to action cycle chart


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Report on evidence - Review & analyse evidence with experts. Produce accessible reports & briefings. - Evidence review processevidenceReview & analyse evidence with experts. Produce accessible reports and briefings Develop action plans stakeholders consider action needed based on evidence Implement action plans - with the stakeholders involved Evaluation of action plans and the evidence to action cycle Identify topic using feedback from services and service users Gather evidence from a variety of sources including research, practitioners, service users
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