A report by charity Family Action has said that life for new and expectant parents is tougher than ever as welfare cuts and poor quality housing are having a major impact on low income mothers' state of mind and their ability to bond with their babies.

The Mind the Gap report highlights the issues faced by families if an adequate range of social services are not available in their area. Family Action warned that "we face the prospect of another generation of 'troubled families' if the gap in early intervention services for low-income pregnant women and new mothers at risk of depression isn't closed."

Family Action's chief executive, Helen Dent, said: "The early intervention gap we've identified needs to be filled so that vulnerable mothers and babies don't fall through the system.

"Failure to have the best support in place could lead to a life of troubles for parents and children and set back the Government's goal of dealing with "troubled" families. New parents are also in the firing line as welfare changes and cuts to support hit their ability to provide for their children. Cash counts for the most vulnerable families and slashing the welfare bill at children's expense could be disastrous for their futures.

To coincide with the report, Family Action has launched the next stage of its Against All Odds campaign, which calls for more low-cost holistic services that combine emotional support with practical advocacy as well as action by Government to improve and protect welfare support to this vulnerable group.

The charity also wants to see the Government explain how it is going to protect the maternal mental health and safe development of new babies of those vulnerable and low income families most likely to bear the brunt of the welfare cuts such as households with a large number of children and single-mother headed households.

Posted 17/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com