Katharina Cavano l Palladium - May 15 2023
Using Data to Support Families Facing Adversity

© Health Policy Project

A safe, nurturing, and stable home and family environment is critical to a child’s development. But it’s not always guaranteed. Many families around the world are struggling to provide adequate care and protection for their children and face increasing challenges due to political instability, climate change, and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Meg Langley, Palladium Child Protection Portfolio Lead, the effects of inadequate care and protection can be severe and long-lasting for children. “It may seem obvious, but we have the data to show that exposure to prolonged adversity or stress, such as parental depression, violence, or poverty, can have negative impacts on development and well-being.”

Families facing adversity require support to ensure the well-being of their children. Langley adds that early identification is key to providing the correct services and initiating follow up so that any family or economic changes can be addressed immediately. “These steps are essential and are accompanied by human resource and financial demands.”

To protect children and reach the best long-term outcomes, governments and non-government agencies need to commit their support. All agencies providing social services to families must work together to meet the needs of vulnerable families and ensure they have the resources to provide a safe, nurturing, and stable home.

“International Day of Families provides an important opportunity to reflect and promote awareness of issues that families face, and the support needed in response,” Langley explains. “This day is a call to action.”

In a new report, she, and co-author Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi share how data can improve support to families facing adversity and struggling to provide a stable home for children. Drawing on examples and experiences in Uganda, Moldova, Armenia, and Rwanda, the report shows how critical data is for case management processes, especially those supporting vulnerable children and families.

“Data are needed at all stages in support of families,” says Langley. “We use it to identify those that are vulnerable, for the management of services so that needs are met, and across monitoring and evaluation systems to support review at the government level the use of services, allowing for detection of gaps.”

Data can also be used to advocate for policy changes that address the root causes of adversity, such as poverty, and social exclusion. By using data to support families and children facing adversity, governments and social services can create more effective and equitable systems that promote child well-being and support families in providing a safe and nurturing environment for their children.

"We wrote this report to raise awareness on the needs of families facing adversity," Langley adds. "I hope the audience is able to see the essential role data plays in identification and supporting these families and can use it to further advocate for resources to ensure that families can provide safe and stable homes for the well-being of children."

Download the report or contact info@thepalladiumgroup.com for more.