Relate NI has reacted to the announcement of £500 million for family support as part of the Chancellors Autumn Budget & Spending Review

Relate NI has reacted to the announcement of £500 million for family support as part of the Chancellors Autumn Budget & Spending Review

Announcing £500 million for family support as part of his Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, stated that he has “a duty to give children the best possible start in life.”

Given that one of our 4 strategic goals is ‘Best Start in Life,’ Relate NI welcome this language, and stresses that the NI executive must ring-fence the NI allocation under the Barnett formula for a similar purpose.

Of the £500 million allocation, £100 million is to be flagged for mental health support for new and expectant parents while £200 million will go toward supporting the most vulnerable families who face complex issues that could lead to family breakdown.

Relate NI CEO, Duane Farrell, said; “Giving children and young people the best start in life is a vitally important goal and we support this focus within the budget.  It is vitally important that any additional monies which comes to NI under the Barnett Consequential is ring-fenced by the NI Finance Minister to also provide family support, including relationship support.”

“We know that relationship distress is something which can result in poorer outcomes for children and families. One example is the emerging body of evidence that parental conflict can have on children’s life chances in terms of education and mental health. Over the last 18 months, Relate NI counsellors have witnessed the impact that the pandemic and associated restrictions have had in terms of levels of unhealthy conflict among parents. ”

“We also know that relationship support, including therapeutic support, is an effective intervention which can improve family cohesiveness, prevent family breakdown and improve the wellbeing of individual family members.”

“The Government’s response to the pandemic has concentrated on the physical health and financial wellbeing of families, and while we know finances are a stress factor for relationships, this method has failed to take account of the wider emotional support that is required to sustain healthy families.”

“The NI executive should take this opportunity to finance early intervention approaches to parental and family conflict that is frequent, intense and poorly resolved. By providing emotional support for families, infants, children and young people when they first struggle, we can reduce the chances of them falling into crisis, or in the case of children, exacerbating into much more complex mental health issues as they get older.”

*ends*

 

Media Contact – Stevie Maginn

stephenmaginn@relateni.org

07483 074693 / 02890 323454

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