What do we already know? our whole family evidence bank: report

Summary of evidence collated as part of the Ask the Family engagement project. The full detailed report can be found below.


The Ask the Family engagement project was commissioned by the national Whole Family Approach/ Family Inclusive Practice Working Group in 2020 to bring together family perspectives on whole family support and family inclusive practice. The project aimed to test out a new set of national Whole Family Principles to apply to all services supporting families affected by alcohol and drugs.

We carried out a national online survey, hosted a conversation café, and asked family members to share their views through various creative means (e.g. film, poems, letters etc). However we also felt it was important to review what families had already told us about what good family support and family inclusive practice looks like to them.

We picked five recent research reports produced in the past year by or for our respective organisations, and assessed them in the same way as the other family engagement activities in the project. This involved reviewing:

  • How far are the Principles aswrittensupported by families? (Top Down)
  • How far do families' owndescriptions of family support cross-check and align with the draft Principles? (Bottom Up)

We used a standard template to pick out key illustrative quotes from each report (What Did Families Say?) and record three 'take-home messages' for each publication.

The publications were:

1. Holleran, John (2020) 'Constantly just holding it up and together. Exploring family support in relation to problem substance use in Scotland', Scottish Families. https://www.sfad.org.uk/constantly-just-holding-it-up-and-together

2. Alexander, Katie; McLaughlan, Lisa; and Gentile, Angela (2020) 'Conversations for Change: Family Rights and Inclusion for families affected by substance use in East Lothian' (A resource for families and professionals), Circle and MELD. https://circle.scot/families/family-rights-and-inclusion/

3. Nugent, Briege (2020) 'Evaluation of Circle's East Lothian Children Affected by Parental Substance Use Project' (unpublished)

4. Scott, Jane (2020) 'Action for Children - What works for children and young people in family support? Executive Summary' (unpublished)

5. Scottish Families (2020) 'The Story of Behind the Numbers', Scottish Families https://www.sfad.org.uk/behind-the-numbers.


Email: alcoholanddrugsupport@gov.scot

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