Changing Families in the Changing World:

rescueflipUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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(Conference: Edinburgh, Jun 16
-
18, 2010)

(Study Visit: Edinburgh and London, Jun 21


22, 2010)
























1/10/2010




Changi ng Fami l i es i n t he Changi ng Wor l d:
Soc i al Wor k I magi nat i ons


D e l e g a t i o n R e p o r t o n 3 r d I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o n f e r e n c e o f C e n t r e f o r R e s e a r c h o n F a m i l i e s
a n d
R e l a t i o n s h i p s ( C R F R ) c u m S t u d y V i s i t




List of Delegates


Delegation Leader

:


Mr Charles Ng, Christian Family Service Centre


Other

Delegates

:


Ms Grace Chan, Caritas Hong Kong

Mr Moses Mui, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service

Mr Anthony Wong, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service

Ms Gloria Yuen, The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong






Table of Contents


I.

Introduction

................................
................................
................................
.........

1

II.

Mapping the Family Issues in the Globalized World

................................
..........

2

a.

Marriage and Partnership

................................
................................
..............

2

b.

Parenting and Family Care (Child Care, Elder Care)

................................
.......

4

c.

Parenthood (Fatherhood, Motherhood, and Reproduction)

.........................

4

III.

Changing patterns of family formation

................................
...............................

6

a.

Factors affecting patterns of family formation

................................
..............

6

b.

Changes of Family Formation in Different Parts of the World

.......................

6

c.

Challenges to the Society


An Example in Scotland

................................
.....

8

d.

Family changes in Hong Kong society

................................
............................

9

IV.

Migration and Transnational Families

................................
...............................

10

a.

Challenges of Transnational Families

................................
...........................

10

b.

Global Care Chain

................................
................................
.........................

11

c.

Shifting of Gender Boundaries

................................
................................
.....

11

d.

Transnational Mobility of the “Invisible” Grandparents

..............................

12

V.

Parenting in a Changing World

................................
................................
..........

14

a.

Grandparenting

................................
................................
............................

14

b.

Parenting in the Internet Age

................................
................................
.......

14

c.

Parenting as Socialization
................................
................................
.............

15

VI.

Family Research, Policy and Practice


A British Experience

...........................

19

VII.

Concluding Remarks

................................
................................
..........................

22

Appendix 1: Visitation Schedule

................................
................................
....................

i

Appendix 2: Findings Brief of the Project of “About Families”

................................
....

ii

Appendix 3: Report on Individual Organization Visit

................................
..................

iii

Reference

................................
................................
................................
...............

x


1



I.

Introduction


While the Conference we attended is entitled

Changing Families in a Changing
World,


and we listened to many presentations
that there are

many new practices of
family, many local
practitioners, who atte
nded
our seminar
after the conference and
study visit,
did not think that those practices are new.
Many of the so
-
called old
forms of families are
perhaps

not old. Many of the new practices may however
have existed for very long time already. Old or ne
w, they perhaps just have
different very manifestations in the new social and cultural contexts. I
t
really
doesn

t matter whether those practices are new or not
. What matters is how we
understand this variety of family forms and practices in these contex
ts and deliberate
more policy and practice measure to support these changing family forms and
practices.


In this report, we will first map out the different forms and practices of families and
identify some of the emerging issues facing families in diff
erent parts of the world.
We will then identify a number of major issues that deserve more discussion and
exploration in the context of Hong Kong. They are namely diversity of family forms,
transnational

families and practices, and parenting. As
there a
re diverse forms and
practices of families, no simple wisdom or paradigm is adequate in understanding
the families
of

our time.
More conceptual
deliberation

and
empirical

research are
needed. In this report, we shall also be highlighting a action researc
h project
conducted in Scotland and illustrate how evidence
-
based practice can support
diverse forms of families in the globalized world.



2



II.

Mapping the Family Issues in the Globalized World


Roughly categorized, the variety of family practices heard of during the conference
could be summarized in the table below:


Marriage &
Partnership

Parenting

Child care/
elder care

Parenthood:
Fatherhood/
Motherhood

Reproduction

Inter
-
ethnic
marriage

Mixed children

Left behind
children

Delayed parenthood

Late fertility and infertility

Forced
marriage in the
West

International adoption

Work
-
life
balance


Singlehood

Grandparent’s parenting and
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Marriage and Partnership

In our time, whether marriage is getting less attractive
or not remains a matter of
debate.
What is more clear is that
divorce is getting
prevalent.

In a time when
the society has a mixture of diverse attitudes towards marriage and partnership,
one could expect that there would be diverse forms of partnerships/relationships.
Also,
mixture

of old and new forms of relationship practices coul
d also be seen.
For example, a

study in UBC

shows that societal
-
level pressure to marry is
positively associated with dating violence

(Carrie Yodanis
, University of British
Columbia, Canada
)
.

This is absolutely not new
a phenomenon.
W
hat is new
perhaps

is the
increased

transparency of misbehaviors in
relationships/partnerships resulted from the societal pressure

that pushes people
to get married with someone.

Likewise, we heard of
r
etraditionalization of
family life (
Julia
Carter,
University of York
,
UK)
,

but at the same time this is
practiced

with much precedent relationship experiments of people who s
ee
3


other fleeting sexual relationships as “necessary distractions” on the path

to
commitment and marriage.
For them, f
amily as “a sort of refuge in the

chilly
environment of our affluent, impersonal, uncertain society


is still very much
treasured
.

In a society full of uncertainties, choices of forms of relationships
available to some people may in some sense be the same set, but the trajectory
of their

relationship choosing is no longer stable. Increased level of
transparency of
a
relationship
does not secure the relationship more. Rather, it
raises the question of trust more sharply.

For other people, new forms of marriage and partnerships emerge

out

of a
context of highly connected transnational environment of the world
. Some are
chosen

and some not.




Inter
-
ethnic Marriage



New
Forced Marriage



New Polygamy



S
inglehood



Gay and Lesbian
Marriage/
Relationships


These forms of relationships, again, may not be new, but in terms of the
magnitude and the ways these relationships are played out in the new globalized
contexts, new relationship phenomena certainly deserve close attention. For
example
, inter
-
ethnic marr
iage has emerged for many years, but it

s much more
prevalent now. Increased level of connectedness of different ethnicities
produce more such relationships in quantity but at the same time produce more
inter
-
ethnic conflicts at the background of th
ese

relationship
s
,
giving these
individually chosen relationships a new set of social and cultural dynamics to
consider. Likewise, polygamy now acquires a new form of legitimacy, one that
does not require any legitimacy. A transnational subject finds no mat
erial as
well as moral burden to sustain relationships in different parts of the world.

All
in all, there is not just a variety of pre
-
determined forms of partnership or
relationship that one can choose from. Like engineering, people can choose
different

parts of human relationships, and re
-
combine it into something new.
People are free to choose and to re
-
combin
e. Yet, out of a certain life situation
or conditions, they are also being shaped and re
-
combined.

The concept of

new
family

design


is relev
ant here. People design
their relationship so as to
provide solutions to their current constraints in their everyday life. In other
words, they design to fit a certain larger societal design.


4


b.

Parenting and Family Care (Child Care, Elder Care)

In our tim
e, paren
ting and family care giving are increasingly not just a household
matter. As there is a massive scale of flow of parents (as well as children) due to
employment (as well as study), the parenting and caring situation of the family
has experienced a

profound change. In some migrant villages in the South East
Asia, for example, almost all active members of the families are aboard. Only
care givers, children, old people and the sick stay at home. The active members
however usually are the most impor
tant parenting and care taking players for the
children and the old, but they are most distant from the household. The

result
of the
tug
-
of
-
war between the workplace (labour market) and the household
is
clear. Care is therefore rendered by someone employ
ed than the family
members (usually, others


mothers). An economically mobile parent at the
North hires someone from the South to take care of his family

members who are
radically stuck in the household
. The latter then is radically stuck in the fomer

s
local household. Although she is relatively mobile in her own family in the
South, her mobility is captured by her
employer. Care giving is rendered in this
hierarchy of

mobility

. Apparently, those who really can

t move will find
themselves not being
taken care of but by themselves.
Intersecting with this
hierarchy of mobility are also
gender
, race and
ethnicity.

Yet, even for those
whose families are taken care of, they will find themselves restless in looking for
compensation strategies to maintain

their family relationships. A whole new set
of transnational strategies and measures are produced to meet this massive need
of compensation such as ICT products and services to maintain communication,
cash remittances and consumers goods to serve as mate
rial compensation.


More and more people turn to their old generation for help in child care.
Grand
-
parenting is generally revived, but again it reproduces a whole new set of
dynamics in the family. In the old days, grand
-
parents were usually the
autho
rity figures. They were the sources of wisdom in child care. As family
care is outsourced, available in the market in various forms, while the parents are
exposed to enormous amount of child care information, a new set of
expectations are produced on how

children are to be cared. The quality of
grand
-
parenting is of course an issue. Accountability also emerges as an issue in
the family. It may originate from
the

parents, but more so from the
grandparents themselves.
T
he intergenerational relationship
is therefore
re
-
configured by new
practices

of parenting and grandparenting.


c.

Parenthood (Fatherhood, Motherhood, and Reproduction)

5


Whether and how to be a father/mother in the current context of global
economic competition and crisis is a central question

for people of our time.
However, the parameters being taken into account in making these choices are
not just familial but social and economical.
T
he interaction among these
parameters put parents in an endless process of anxiety. Employment
insecurity

delays parenthood, and delayed parenthood reminds parents of
economic insecurity when they get old.
In spite of this anxiety, delayed
parenthood has a social connotation of being
privileged
, as they have
jobs

that
they need to retain. They are therefore
perceived

by the larger society not as
disadvantaged but as privileged. So, whether one wants to be a father or a
mother is more and more a calculated social and economic choice.


For those who choose to be

parents,
issues
like family
-
work life balance,
parenting, conflict, domestic violence all have long
-
term social and economic
implications to parenthood. They are all sources of anxiety for parents.


Naturally, some could not have this choice, even if t
his generates endless anxiety,
because biologically they have problems of reproduction. But as infertility gets
more prevalent, more and more strategies and technologies are available for
parents to choose from.

Adoption is one such strategy. But adopti
on is no
longer like before. Improved communication technology, transportation, and
information access etc have enabled not only transnational adoption, but also
activities concerning the making of identity of the adopted children and the
adopting parents


identification with the children. Parents can now go back to
the country of origin of the children, understand their social and cultural
characteristics of the original place of birth of their children, hoping to
re
-
construct their relationship with
the
ir

children. Donor insemination,
commercial surrogacy, and other technologies or biogenetic substances
that

attempt to resolve the problem of infertility entail some impact on relationship,
care and nurturing. A prevalent trend of

such kind of relationsh
ips which are
based originally on purchase of fertility service generates not just ethical issues,
legal, social, psychological issues on the part of children as well as parents.



6



III.

Changing patterns of family formation


a.

Factors affecting patterns of
family formation

Diversity of family forms in contemporary societies
is

closely related to economic
level of the family, changes of gender roles in family, state policies as well as the
increasing mobility of people.


I
n traditional rural societies, childl
essness was
rare

to ensure the economic
manpower in production. Each member
was

restricted by the sex role of the
traditional family, the father as the breadwinner and the mother as the
home
-
marker. With rapid socio
-
economic development, the mother is beco
ming
the supplementary provider to the family while still retains
her

responsibilities of
child rearing. Female participation in labor force leads to their
delayed
parenthood and childbearing.

Fertility rate drops in
many

societies.

Single
hood

is common
in
many

advanced countries too.


The

current

economic situation is also characterized by a large gap between
the
rich and
the
poor. Women from the developing countries migrate to the rich
countries through transnational marriage.

State policies and advan
ced
transportation make
it

possible and easier.

Different patterns of partnering,
childbearing and child caring are associated with these families who are of the
same or different ethnicities.


b.

Changes of
F
amily
F
ormation in
D
ifferent
P
arts of the
W
orld

Family researches identified several phenomena of family patterns that deserve
attention of researchers and policy planners. For instance, the increasing average
age of marriage, decreas
ing

fertility rate, rising singleton population, increasing
number of

gay, lesbian and bisexual couples as well as interracial marriage and
mixed children

have drawn much attention. In
the

conference, we have heard
of presentations related to these as below:


Postponing parenthood in Central and Eastern Europe
(I. Szalam,
University of
Budapest,
Hungary; H. Haskova,

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic,

Czech Republic)

During the socialist period, childlessness was
rare

in the Central and Eastern
Europe (CEE). However, since 1990s, CEE became a region with the lowest f
ertility
rates. Similar to developed countries, the postponed children may not be born
7


and permanent childlessness is expected to grow in CEE. For example, there is a
trend in the family formation among youngsters of Hungary that their transitions
to paren
thood currently take place at a later stage in life course and growing age
at first birth than it did a few decades ago. Employment insecurity and
unemployment further influence family formation of these young adults.


Experience singleness in Malaysia, I
taly and Britain
(R. Ibrahim,

National
University of Malaysia,

Malaysia; S. Rapisarda,
University of Leed,
United
Kingdom)

The marriage practice of people
has
changed drastically over the past decades.
The major change is the increasing average age of marr
iage.

In most of the
developing and developed countries, women are marrying at later age and some
even remain single throughout their childbearing years due to their participation
in higher education and later into the j
ob market. Single
hood

is a dynamic
process in which women learn and relearn how to become women without being
wives and mothers. They may fulfill the natural vocation as ‘women’ by adopting
children.

In the case of Malaysian Malay Muslims, the total percentage of
never
-
married women over t
he age of 30 increased from 3.1% in 1960 to 23.3%
in 2000.

They have to bear heavy societal pressure of being unmarried.

By
contrast
, single
hood

is increasingly accepted in European countries such as
Britain and Italy. The sense of commitment is weakenin
g and the affirmation of
the individual identi
t
y is rising in these countries. Besides, social networks other
than the family become the key element in the lives of single people to deal with
an uncertain future.


Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) couples in United Kingdom and Belgium
(P.
Nordqvist,
University of Manchester,
United Kingdom; C. Herbrand,
Universite
Libre de Bruxelles,
Belgium)

The rising number of lesbian, gay and bisexual couples in some European
coun
tries signifies the change of
prevalent
meaning of family that involve
s

blood
or marital relationship. The couples have their own children through either
adoption or reproductive technologies of conception such as surrogacy. Moreover,
the parenting practic
e is no longer the same as the traditional one. There is the
new family design of “co
-
parenthood” among gays and lesbians in order to
maintain family
-
work balance, familial flexibility, joint custody and parental
functions. The co
-
parenthood is a parental
arrangement between a man and a
woman, who are not a couple. More concerns are recently given to whether
co
-
parenthood can apply beyond gays and lesbians. Moreover, the LGB elders
8


often worry about their end of life care and thus social networks gradually
replace the traditional kinship relationship.


Patterns of partnering of transnational families in North Europe and in
developing countries
(K. Caarls,

Maastricht,

the Netherlands;
Thao

Thi Vu
,

University of Copenhagen,

Denmark
)

G
lobalization leads to high
level of
transnational mobility. Most migrants of
developed countries tend to marry someone from
the host
country. Marriage
becomes the last route of migration to ensure upward economic mobility.
According to the research study i
n
the
Netherlands, migration was related to an
increase in separation and divorce. The partnering relationship of transnational
marriages was affected by the conflicting gender expectations between men and
women. In these families, the men often seek a tra
ditional wife while the women
hope for
a
more modern husband. Besides, there is an
important trend in
migration flows
that there
is the growing numbers of independent female
migrants
of

developing countries such as Vietnam
.
This development has allowed
man
y women to obtain
economic
independen
ce

and take

up

new social positions
in families and local communities.

In this connection, there are great challenges
for

the
left

behind families in terms of shifting gender boundaries and family
care.


c.

Challenges to t
he
S
ociety


A
n
E
xample in Scotland

With reference to the situation in Scotland, it would be hard to talk

about


typical
family


by 2020. In Scotland, people often marry later or cohabit without
marriage. An increasing number of children are born outside m
arriage.

The
separation and divorce rates also increase dramatically in recent decades.

Among them, the divorce rate is 33% higher for families with children of disability.
Household with one adult with children rise from 150,000 in 2004 to 200,000 in
20
24. About 25% of parents are lone parents who require more flexible job to
earn a living while retaining their responsibility in childrearing. In Scotland, 30%
of all mothers will spend some time in stepfamily before the age of 45. As
estimated by the gove
rnment, step
-
families are the dominant family form in
Scotland in 2010 (Parenting Across Scotland, 2010). Changes in marital
relationship and quality of parents’ relationship affect how the children adapt to
changing family situations. Not only
do
what par
ents do to the child matter, but
also
how the parents behave with each other. Parenting and partnership
are
thus
higher up
in
the Government

s

agenda.


9


In response to economic crisis in recent years, the policy of United Kingdom aims
to re
-
establish the f
inancial capability of individuals through flexible job, child
care subsidy and tax concession. In Scotland, women and lone parents are
supported to
take up or
sustain employment or to attain college study for a
better future. The local government provides flexible child care to encourage
self
-
reliance of concerned groups who are suffering from obesity, mental illness
and alcoholic addiction. Therefore, they woul
d no longer depend on social
welfare only.


d.

Family changes in Hong Kong society

Similar to other countries, Hong Kong society also experiences significant changes
in family formation. Similar pattern of changes is found. According to the report
of Census

and Statistics Department in July 2010, the proportion of the
population aged 65 and over is projected to rise markedly, from 13% in 2009 to
28% in 2039. The
sex ratio

(i.e. the number of males per 1,000 females) of the
population is projected to fall not
iceably, from 889 in 2009 to 744 in
2039.

Besides the changes in population, recent trends of late marriage and
postponement of childbearing also indicate the rising number of singleton people
and one
-
child family.


In addition, the family composition beco
mes diverse as a
result of rising number of new immigrants from Mainland and increasing
ethnicity of Hong Kong society. Families with disabled members or prisoners have
more complicated interactions in partnering and parenting decisions. Last but not
least
, the recent court case about whether a transsexual woman will be allowed
to marry her boyfriend drew much societal attention. There is still lack of local
consensus and agreed cultural basis to redefine "man" and "woman".


With globalization, there are
changing patterns of family formations in different
contemporary societies. The changes bring forth the discussion on personal
relationship, family functions such as reproduction and parenting as well as social
support networks that are different from the
traditional ones. Social work
practitioners have to be aware of own values and to modify practice responsively
to fit for ever changing family situations.



10



IV.

Migration and
T
ransnational
F
amilies



Transnational family can be said to be one of the most outstanding theme
i
n the
conference. Many presentations were related to the issues concerning
transnational families. What defines transnational

family
is not

so much
the act of
cross border movement

of the family, but the dispersion of the family

across
international borders

where different family members s
tay temporarily

in one or the
other country
for

different

reasons
--

political

reasons, economic reasons and
educational pursuit, etc. In the mea
ntime, globalization also leads to new patterns
of

transnational mobility and migration. W
ith the

advancement of
communication/
information

technology and transportation technology, it also
contributes to the emergence of transnational
families. The

emerge
nce of
transnational families as a result of migration for work abroad / labor migration and
the challenges experienced by these transnational families was quite a common
theme.


Concerning the challenges of transnational families, papers presented
in th
e
Conference cover
s

various areas of interests

including:



what influences the families ha
ve

in shaping the migration decision making, the
traditional gender role
s

in shaping women’s migration decision making
;



the loss experienced by family members who stay behind /
are
“left behind”
;



how migration affects family life in terms of reproductive practice/child bearing,

parenting,

and the distanc
ing
among those who maintain transnational
relations;



future orienta
tion among those who form new families in the post migration
scenario;



the practice of caring and support in transnational family solidarity across three
generations

interplay of stages of the family life, gender, generation, social
categories, life circum
stances and historical context.


a.

Challenges of
T
ransnational
F
amilies

A lot of challenges
are

experienced by transnational families as reflected from

the

research findings of the conference paper presenters. Migration always leads to
experiences

of discon
tinuity for families
through

temporary

separation

of family
members and through dislocation. These families have to adapt to the new
culture and societal circumstances and norms different from their own country
of

origin. They have to struggle between d
ealing with family
separation

and at the
11


same time maintaining family ties, struggling
in the

involvement

in family matters
such as the children

s education and well
-
being, but somehow
this is
difficult
because of geographic distance, limited resources and

other limitations.
T
here
is

paper

presented in the conference

explor
ing

mothers


and children

s views and
practice of constructing identities and belongings, and
the
role

that

ethnicity,
class and language play in these practices. There is also research

paper trying to
find the ways transnational families
,

with members having migrated to European
countries especially to Spain, Italy, U.K.
and

Ireland from Romanian villages
,

manage to function when almost all active members of the families are abroad,
leaving only caregivers, children and old
people and the sick remaining at
home.
While living spatially apart, it also challenges the maintenance of intimate
relationship among
couples and parent
-
child of the transnational families.


b.

Global Care C
hain

European Commission 2007 defines

circular migration


as “a

form of migration
that is managed in a way allowing some degree of legal mobility back and forth
between two countries

.

Global care chain was first used by Arlie Hochschild to
describe a series of personal link between people across the globe basing on paid
or unpaid work of caring

(Hochschild, 200
3
). In the Conference, such
phenomenon of global care chain was identified
in some of the research papers
on transnational families. The
labor

migrants move from the poor to affluent
countries to care for the young, the old and the sick while leaving those young,
old and the sick to whom they normally provide care for to be care
d by other
paid or
unpaid

worker
, or usually not being cared for at all
. There is the trend for
international trade of domestic workers. In the process, female is often central
to global care chain, with female supplying care
labor

while consuming other
w
omen

s care
labor
. Lower down the chain, it may be even an older daughter
who substitutes for her mother in providing unpaid care for her younger siblings.


c.

Shifting of
G
ender
B
oundaries

Another theme concerning challenges of transnational families discussed a lot in
the conference covers the family members
staying

behind. While there is
a

trend of feminization of migration, it is often the female
labors

work
ing

in other
countries as
labo
r

migrants.

As a result, it is the husbands and the children
who stay behind and some researchers even term it as families being

left
behind

. While the wives own the breadwinner

s role by working as
labor

migrants abroad, it

s the
husbands who do

the
domestic work in
their

countries
of origin. Then when the wives earn more, with better
knowledge

and exposure,
12


their
voice

in
family

decision

making becomes
stronger
.

The masculi
nity of men
who stay behind to be
responsible for the domestic and child care work is
challenged. This seemingly and
subtly

push
es

the
original gender boundaries.
The traditional
gender

boundaries between public and domestic sphere then
have

to be
renegotiated

in the

transnational familie
s in view of the feminization
of migration.


d.

Transnational
M
obility of the

I
nvisible


G
randparents

While much coverage on transnational families are on the challenge of
labor

migration

families as presented in the Conference, it is worth noting that there

was

discussion on the transnational mobility of the grandparents from China who
move to provide care works to their migrated children in terms of post
-
natal care,
child care and housework, etc. However, when they are suffering from major
illness, they wil
l choose not to burden their children

s finance by returning to
their homeland. While facing challenges in daily
living

in terms of
unfamiliar
language, social network,

etc., these grandparents were found experiencing 3

NOTs


in their relationship with
t
heir

children
and

grandchildren, namely:



Not a master as they can

t make decisions for the families;



Not a guest as they have to do housework and child care;



Not a

servant as they are not paid for those domestic and child care work.


During
decade
before

the return of so
v
ereignty of Hong Kong from Britain to China in
1997
, a

lot of the families experienced migration and became transnational families.
The decision making process of migration, the staying behind in China and the issue
of
“astronaut

famili
es


all challenged quite a lot of Hong Kong families at that time.
I
n the past two decades
, there

has been
a

trend of
c
ross
-
b
order marriages with HK
men getting married with women in Mainland China. There are also a lot of
families with family members, often the husbands, working in China for a few days a
week and then back to Hong Kong in weekend. To what extent they are exper
iencing
similar challenges of the transnational families as reflected in the Conference is
worth exploring.


Besides, as far as migration is mentioned
, people

often
refer

to cross country
migration

or

migration

of

a long term or even permanent one.
Yet, i
n fact, in Asian
countries

such as Vietnam
, quite many

people
are labor migration from one province
to another

which

is

in fact with quite different culture though within the same
country.
We have to expand our conceptualization of migration
and

its chall
enges
brought forth.
The following areas
being
touched
in the Conference
are much

13


worth looking into
when we are to understand transnational families
in our HK
context:



From a ‘migration’ to a ‘transnational’ framework



Increase in the ‘circularity’ of mig
ratory movements



The extent n
ational borders impede or facilitate circularity through migration,
citizenship and visa controls



The impact on belonging and social inclusion



Kinship networks and patterns of relation and communication across and
between the g
enerations



Kin
ship
practices and patterns of care giving by gender, class & migration type



Social uses of new technologies (travel and communication)



Cultural constructions of care giving and family
.


A
s a lot of families

outsourcing


domestic care
labor

work to domestic workers from
South or SE Asia such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, a lot of families in
Hong Kong are also on the nodes in the global care chain and there seemingly is
a

commoditization

of care. How do we social workers view t
hose domestic workers at
the lower node down the global care chain but are contributing domestic care work
to many families in Hong Kong? What is the implication behind the notion of global
care chain are to Hong Kong families?

All these are worth
y of

fu
rther exploration.



14



V.

Parenting in a Changing World


Socialization through parenting

is

one of the core functions of family. Since
families
are under on
-
going
changes
in the world
, changes

in parenting in the modern world

seems unavoidable.
Numbers of r
esearches presented in this conference
witnessed
changing patterns of family formation
because of the

‘role delay’
faced by various
members in respective developmental stage.

Some examples in Hungary, East
Europe
and

UK have been mentioned above.


a.

Grandp
arenting


G
rand
-
parents’ role in parenting has been strengthened

in modern families.

In
Australia,
frequent grand
-
childcare is more prevalent than any of the European
nations
.

T
he gendered meanings and practices of grand
-
childcare evident in
interviews s
how grandmothers are often positioned as nurturing, coordinators of
care and struggling to balance care and time while grandfathers are most
described as male role models to grandchildren and can opt in and out caring
labour (Briony Horsfall, Swinburne, un
iversity of Technology, Australia).


A research in Germany
has
found out that relationships between adult children
and their parents are defined and reconstructed across the transition to
grand
-
parenthood
. T
he transition towards the parental status is wid
ely perceived
as fundamentally ambivalent in terms of intergenerational relations within the
family. (Katharine Ulbrich, Dresden Leibniz Graduate School, Germany). With
diversifying
forms of
families, increased life expectancy, growing numbers of
dual
-
work
er households and high rates of family breakdown, grandparents are
now playing
more

prominent

role in their grandchildren’s lives.


Results of a research of adolescent
-
grandparent relationships supported the
position that grandparents are a significant fa
ctor in the lives of adolescents. The
interactions consistently emphasized the role of parents as gatekeepers of
intergenerational exchanges (Jo
-
Pei Tan, University of Putra Malaysia, Malaysia).


b.

Parenting in the Internet Age


Furthermore,
challenges
faced by parents in the internet age are real.

As new
technology and different types of media have increasing presence the family
15


h
ousehold,

the current view of children’s leisure activities is of isolated sedentary
activities rather than active social pl
ay and a concern about safety in their
neighborhoods (Erika Doyle, University of Dublin, Ireland).


In an age where public and parental concern constrains young peoples’ use of
public spaces, the teenage bedroom is a new site for the development of self a
nd
identity and a new focus for the negotiation of boundaries of privacy. The rise of
the Internet, and the active engagement of young people in networked spaces,
add a new and complex layers to this dynamic (Zachari Duncalf, Strathclyde
University, United

Kingdom).


The last thirty years has seen a boom in communications technology, an
increase in geographical mobility, and an increase in the number working and
lone parents
,

to name just a few transformations. One result of these changes
has been an increasingly individualized society, which has led to changes in the
family unit. The emergence of technology has dramatically altered play,
supervision, and communication.(Leanne

Franklin, Loughborough University,
United Kingdom).


c.

Parenting as Socialization

However, no matter how late people takes part in parenting,
socialization is still a
core objective that parents should reach among various family functions.

It is
not easy f
or parents nowadays to shape their children as in previous decades. In
local situation, some frontline social workers observe that parents are even
impacted by their children in a negative manner and both their parental goals
and expectation a
re change
d
. T
o examine this phenomenon, parents’ subjective
feelings and thought should be taken into account.
The following study, named
“From Good Babies to Bad Mothers” conducted by an
anthropologist,
Dr. Kelly
Davis of the University of Edinburgh,

does bring us ins
ight.

The Research studied the
Kinship and expert advice in the process of learning to
be mother. There were 33 interviewees (mother
-
daughter pairs in Scotland, both
mothers) who were white, British, mainly middle
-
class, relatively well
-
educated
and non
-
re
ligious from the three cohorts, 1945
-
1960; 1961
-
1980; 1990
-
2004.
Besides, the scholar reviewed professionally published childrearing literature in
these cohorts.


‘Habit
t
raining’ and ‘Socializing
d
iscipline’ are focuses of this study. Habit
16


Training refe
rs to the establishment and performance of care for babies and very
young children, e.g. sleeping, eating toilet training. Socializing
d
iscipline means
how to behave inside and outside the home; interactions with family, friends and
strangers; values, atti
tudes and personality characteristics.


The research told us that expectations of mothers and the intensity of mothering
ha
d

changed from 1945
-
2004. Changing experts’ discourses about the form and
goal of children’s socialization were also found. Women
’s notions did mirror
professional opinions.


The first cohort, 1945
-
1960, was named as adult
-
like management.
In this period
which was full with post
-
war anxiety, published childrearing advice were
inflexible. Interviewees expected even very young
babies to follow routine, i.e.
mother set the structure of daily living. ‘Successful’ training meant the child fit
into social conventions of adult world. This value led to proper socializing of
older child, where ‘spoiling’ was avoided by instilling obe
dience. None of the
interviewees spoke of being a ‘bad’ mother. ‘Good’ baby was equal to
non
-
demanding, placid, content, who did not cry often.


In the
s
econd
c
ohort, controlled flexibility (1961
-
1980),

increasing flexibility in
childrearing might be view
ed as an extension of changing moral values. Control
still important, but experts paid increasing attention to a child’s individual
character. ‘Timing’ and ‘readiness’ were key concepts as developmental
pediatrics and psychology gained recognition and in
fluence. Some interviewees
spoke of strictness; others felt they were less rigid than previous generations.
While there were still references to ‘good’ babies, anxiety over being a ‘bad’
mother was also expressed. In socializing discipline, expert litera
ture stressed
children’s emotional and psychological stability. ‘Love’ became reinforcement
for the mother
-
child relationship, so that cooperation based on affection

was

important. For the women, the notion of the individuality of each child
influenced t
heir socializing discipline practices. Many mothers remembered the
lack of personal recognition in their own upbringing.


From 1992 onwards, i.e. the third cohort named ‘happy individual’ (1990
-
2004),
increasing multiplicity in family forms and ideologies
. Given these changes,
professional literature concentrated on the quality rather than the form of the
parent
-
child relationship. A multitude of approaches, flexibility and ‘shopping
around’ related to the personality of each child. The multiplicity of a
pproaches
17


talked about and tried by interviewees indicates the extent of choice. Optimum
routine one that suited both mother and child with least amount of stress.
Women’s references to ‘feeling like a bad mother’ often stemmed from the
dissonance between
the approaches a mother wanted to take and which method
they had to employ. Narratives on socializing discipline focused on a fluid,
interactive and reflective process. Compared to older cohorts, the children had
much more influence in the disciplining p
rocess. Mutual satisfaction in the
mother
-
child relationship meant ‘success’ in the socialization. More references
to letting children ‘have a say’ or ‘spreading their wings’. Meant to build up
child’s self
-
esteem, ensuring they are ‘kind’, ‘generous’ ‘
open
-
minded’.


A

shift in the moral undertone of childrearing, from the mother preventing her
child from being ‘demanding’ in the 1945
-
1960 period to the mother doing her
utmost to preserve her child’s ego and the quality of the mother
-
child
relationship
by the period 1990
-
2004. As the intensification of a mother’s duty in
socializing her children increased, many women sought outside advice, which
was steadily multiplying and was often conflicting. These factors together
manifested in more women’s narrativ
es revealing feelings of ‘flawed’ mothering.
This concurrence of the intensification of a mother’s socializing/childrearing and
the proliferation of possible methods locates any long
-
term difficulties or
problems as a failure on the mother’s part to emplo
y the proper practices. Thus,
there was a greater burden of interpretation on the mother to know her child
and act accordingly. This burden of interpretations expected when a child was still
very young, for it was the means by which a mother secures a harm
onious
relationship with her child.


Be aware of global in the local, we find during the past six decades, mothers were
changed from demanding their children to demanding themselves. Although more
and more professional advice was offered, they thought som
e of them were
conflicting. Children in fact have more influence in the disciplining process. In
response to this change, local practitioners unavoidably have to review their goal of
parenting education. The traditional perspective, named parent
-
effect per
spective, is
no longer suitable to nowadays complicated parent
-
child relationship. Parents may
not be the only shaper to their children. It is high time for the sector to think about
the necessity of having a paradigm shift or inducing new perspective in p
arenting
education in order to address challenges faced by the parents.
Everyone thinks that
parents influence their children, but few people ask the ways in which children affect
18


their parents. The love, satisfaction, and fulfillment children offer can ch
ange
parents’lives. So can the stress and worry that brought by the unsatisfactory
parent
-
child relationship . And, it may be a neglected issues of family dynamics, in
global and in local.



19



VI.

Family Research, Policy and Practice


A

British Experience


While the above mentions more about some major trend of family issues and
practices that we observed
during

the conference and visitation, we were also very
much impressed by the momentum of evidence
-
based practice in UK and many
countries in Europe. Research projects carried out are deliberately linked with
practices and policies, and the
scale of projects is
very big.

We have seen more and
more longitudinal studies being carried by these countries to trace changes of
families and the family members at different life stages.


a.

The “About Families” Project

In recent years, there has been a very considerable incr
ease in interest by
researchers, practitioners and policy
-
makers in “knowledge transfer” within the
welfare sector

in Hong Kong
. Similar discussion was found commonly in United
Kingdom. During the study visit, the delegation had visited the Parenting acros
s
Scotland, and got to know one of
a

project

entitled

“About Families
.


The
project is

aim
ed

at providing relevant and accessible evidence to inform service
development for the families affected by disability.


“About Families” project, funded by the Nati
onal Lottery through Big Lottery
Fund, is a three
-
year project which started in March 2010. The project leverage
s

joint efforts of various partners, including Centre for Research on Families and
Relationship (research institute), Parenting across Scotland
and Capability
Scotland (NGOs).

The rationale and guiding principles of “About Families” project
are as below:


Gathering evidence

“About Families” project links existing research with the experiences of parents,
practitioners and disabled people to identi
fy and explore key challenges facing
parenting and disability services and the families they work with.


Sharing information

Information and evidence are presented in user
-
friendly topic reports which help
services to identify clear routes to developing s
ervice provision.


Informing action

Voluntary and public sector agencies use our topic reports to assess what action
20


needs to be taken based on the evidence presented. “About Families” works with
key agencies to develop, implement and evaluate action plans

based on the
needs they identify.


Evidence to action

Over three years, the “About Families” partners are gathering feedback from
services and service users to better understand which aspects of parenting are of
most concern to families. Using this feedb
ack, five key parenting and disability
topics will be identified for investigation.


To further illustrate the project implementation, the “Evidence to Action Cycle” is
depicted as below:



As one of the key topics for investigation, “Parenting Teenagers”

was identified
based on the hotline service statistics of the “Parentline”. The action plan was
being developed with key stakeholders based on issues arising

from the
Parenting Teenagers: relationships and behaviour issues. The major findings
could be ref
erred to the topic briefing i
n
A
ppendix

2
.


b.

Implication and Reflection

From the British experience in the linkage among
family research, policy and
practice
, some implications and reflections are observed for the development of
local knowledge transfer in
the sector.


Knowledge transfer is not linear

21


Much of the research on knowledge transfer points out that while policy
-
makers
assume that knowledge transfer works by giving the knowledge to the group that
needs it, this is not the best approach. Knowledge t
ransfer works better through
processes that encourage discussion, problem solving and joint development
among researchers, practitioners and policy
-
makers. Thus, knowledge transfer
should not be a linear process.


Different agenda among different stakehold
ers

Practitioners and researchers might have fundamentally different
interests
, which
may overlap or coincide at times. Researchers may be interested in seeking
knowledge in accordance with the rules of scientific enquiry, while the
practitioners may be co
ncerned more about the knowledge that has practical use.
Such discrepancy in expectation should be addressed in order to facilitate
effective knowledge transfer.


Research comes after policy

The logic of the evidence
-
based policy approach suggests that res
earchers should
advise policy
-
makers about a particular problem on the basis of the evidence, a
programme is then designed to address it and is subsequently implemented.
However, the reality is usually that programmes or policy initiatives are designed
by
policy
-
makers on the basis of what they want done, and may only involve
researchers in the implementation phase.


Practitioner’s role in knowledge transfer

As a matter of fact, evidence
-
based policy and practice do not quite recognize
practitioners’ role i
n knowledge transfer. Indeed practical experience, craft
knowledge and professional judgement may be even interpreted as barriers to
transfer. Practitioners seem to be recipients of research, rather than interpreters
or producers of actionable knowledge. T
o ensure effective knowledge transfer,
practitioners should be engaged to take up more proactive role in the whole
process.



22



VII.

Concluding Remarks


If the family forms and practices
mentioned above
are not new, we perhaps can say
that these prevailing forms and practices can be looked at in new ways. We would
like to conclude by pointing out some of such findings from the conference and
visitation.


a.

While some practices did exist in the past, thos
e practices are now much more
prevalent in our era. A new normalization is found that different forms or
practices of families are increasing being seen as normal, and that they are
increasingly quicker to be accepted as normal.

b.

As the family changes, t
he ways people perceive it also changes. Some
dimensions of looking at the family, eg. family composition and structure, may
not be as important as before. As forms and practices of the family get
proliferated, the intrinsic qualities of
the family

are s
een as more important than
the outlook. So,
for example,
for many in the West, step
-
parents are no longer
seen as less desirable. What

s more important is how the step parents relate
with their children.

Likewise,

p
arental separation is not in itself causative of
negative outcomes for children and young people. Rather it is the interaction
between risk and protective
variables

which play the key role in shaping the
wellbeing of children.

c.

Because of what is said ab
ove, the famil
y

is

now under a new regime of
management. Management of risk becomes a prim
ary

objective in maintaining
families, not just for those traditionally disadvantaged forms but also for those
typical forms.

d.

As information is more accessible to la
y persons, advices from helping
professionals are both resisted and needed. They are resisted because they are
no longer the knowledge authority as information gets proliferated and
everybody
has

access to those professional wisdoms.

Web
-
based relationsh
ip
or personal support helpdesk
is more
accessible to people (e.g.
www.familieschange.ca

). Advices are resisted

also because there are
competing discourses about the same concern or issue. People get indiffer
ent
about these advices. Yet,
they are needed because risks are all over the places
and

everybody is looking for
effective
ways to manage their families.
Helping
professionals do relieve their anxiety in this risky society.

e.

The family is used to be the
private sphere, governed by a set of discourses of
personal and interpersonal relationships, of familial hierarchy and norms. In
23


this era, however, the family gets more and more

publicized.


Private practices
in the households required more and more pub
lic regulatory measures. Familial
relationships demand values, norms or even regulations which are previously
applicable in the public sphere. In
families
, we now speak of children

s
participation not just in their own development, but also in parental m
arital
relationship. Children demand more participation, and more transparency
,

which

is the
prerequisite

for their participation.

f.

In addition to being

publicized

, families and relationships are getting more and
more marketized /commodified. Commodif
ication of care is
prevalent

in many
parts of the world. Commodification of relationship is also common.
Relationship goes beyond natural familial bonds or social mating, but
is
increasingly
on sale and purchase.
One can pay to get a baby,

or

to get a
m
other to give birth to a baby,

or

to pay a father for his sperm. One can also
pay to design his/her own family or
set of
relationships. All these commodified
options are now more and more available and acceptable.

g.

As
the
famil
y

get
s

more and more
publici
zed

and commodified, the biological and
cultural gives way to the social, economic and political
in the
organization of the
families and relationships. For children born socially and economically more
advantageous but biological less well, their social an
d economical advantages can
compensate for their biological disadvantage. Children born socially and
economically disadvantageous have no to
adequate

post
-
natal care even though
they are born biologically well.

h.

All these point to the increasing importance of public policies which are aimed at
regulating the social, economical and political domains of our lives. Leaving the
families on their own seems less and less an option for any advanced societies
who claim t
o care about families.

i



Appendix 1: Visitation Schedule


21 June


Visits in Edinburgh




10:00


11:30

Sue Robertson

Director

One Parent Families Scotland,

13 Gayfield Square,

Edinburgh E
H1 3NX

0131
-
557
-
7891

email:
suerobertson@opfs.org.uk






3:00pm

Alison Clancy

Project Officer

Parenting Across Scotland

1 Boroughloch Square

Edinburgh

EH8 9NJ

Tele: 0131 319 8071

email:
alison.clancy@children1st.org.uk


22 June


Visits in London




10:30am

Jill Kirby

Director

Centre for Policy Studies

57 Tufton Street

London SW1P 3QL

+44 (0)207 222 4488

07879 647 784

E
mail:
jill@cps.org.uk






2:30pm

Clem Henricson

Director of Research

Family and Parenting Institute

430 Highgate Studios

53
-
79 Highgate Road

London



NW5 1TL

0207 424 3460

Email:
Henricson@familyandparenting.org




ii



Appendix 2
:
Findings Brief of the Project of

About Families





iii


Appendix 3
:
Report on Individual Organization Visit


******


1
.

Date of Visit/Meeting
:

21 June
2010

2.

Name of Agency
: One Parent Families Scotland

3.

Address/Meeting Venue
: 13 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh EH1 3NX

4.

Contact Person
:



Sue Robertson, Director

5.

Description of Agency, including type of services provided, target served,
programmes, staffing, funding sources, and special facilities:

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), established in 1944, works to ensure that
all families, particularly those headed by a lone parent, have the support,
information and confidence needed to p
lay a full part in Scotland's economic
and social life. OPFS encourage and enable lone parents to believe in
themselves, enter education, training or employment and take up new
opportunities. OPFS believes that lone parents as a group are unique in having
sole responsibility for the combined roles of breadwinner and main carer. She
thus delivers vital childcare services that allowing parents to work, learn, and
take part in training.

Each year, OPFS influences the lives of over 5,000 families and 12,000 ch
ildren
through provision of information, vital tailor
-
made childcare services as well as
training and employment opportunities from nine projects such as the 101
Project Dundee. Three levels of service including national, local and childcare
services are
provided. She remains the biggest at
home childcare provider

in
Scotland reaching out to 2,300 families each year and thus enabling 1,500
parents to find new confidence and enter
training, education or employment
.
The Marks & Start return to work programme

offers lone parents in Edinburgh
the pre
-
employment training and work placement in conjunction with Marks
and Spencer. Moreover,
information and advice

are given to 3,000 families
through its
Lone Parent Helpline and publication
. At policy level, OPFS
res
ponds to
government consultations

to influence and shape the policies

that
will improve the lives of one parent families. OPFS also
conduct research

on
areas which are relevant to one parent families and which have the potential to
influence public policy
and increase understanding of the crucial issues facing
lone parents and their children. OPFS works closely with other partners such as
Gingerbread and Parenting Across Scotland.

iv


In regard to the national services, OPFS receives grants from the Scottish
Go
vernment towards the core costs of Helpline, information and employability
services. These have been supplemented with other grants from private sector
funding and National Lottery. In regard to local services, OPFS also receives local
authority grants suc
h as from the city of Edinburgh. She also receives donations
and help in kind from a number of individuals.

6.

Content of Meeting
:

i.

Briefing of service provision of OPFS: the types of national and local services
were introduced with highlights on
tailor
-
made services rendering to lone
parents who choose to stay at home and look after their children during their
vital early years or during the family crisis, as well as services for young parent in
Edinburgh. Annual Review 2009 and publications were
given.


ii.

Rationale behind the services of OPFS: service provision was closely related to
National Policy that lone parents are encouraged to enter the mainstream of
economic and social activity through either part
-
time or full
-
time employment.
Parents are m
atched depending on their decisions to be either the part
-
time
assistants in crèches or full time employees. Their financial capability is
enhanced through flexible job opportunities, home based childcare services,
flexible crèches, tailor
-
made services fo
r children with additional needs.


iii.

Challenges facing by OPFS: the rate of lone parents increase to 25% in Scotland.
They face complex and interrelated challenges. Firstly, they are the only one
potential "breadwinner" and one carer to share the load of f
amily
responsibilities. Secondly, the majority of lone parents are women, averaging 36
years of age, face with inequality and disadvantages many women face in the
workplace. They are vulnerable to poverty triggered by certain life events or
transitions su
ch as separation, divorce, pregnancy, ill health, homelessness
and into/out of employment. Moreover, being financially supported by Scottish
Government, changed government policy and the budget cut are also the
challenges faced by OPFS.


7.

Observation
:

(e.g. stimulation / implications for Hong Kong)


OPFS is one of the main service agency rendering services to lone parents at
both national and local levels. It seems that the website and Helpline are widely
used by the potential families for advice and s
ervice matching. It also provides a
nation
-
wide platform for lone parents to unite together for joint effort at policy
v


advocacy. Specialized service for families of single parents, prisoners,
substance abuse in Hong Kong may make reference from OPFS in se
rvice
designs and delivery modes. Moreover, the idea of flexible job and corporate
collaborations are good to meet the particular needs of parents. It may be
applicable to Hong Kong as well. For example, the ‘return to work’ programme
offers a time schedul
e of training and placement which fit within school hours.
Thus, the parents are enabled to learn and work while retaining responsibility of
childrearing. Besides, corporate social responsibility is emphasized in offering
work opportunity, other than donat
ions only, that are essential to support the
needy parents.

8.

Recommendations
: (e.g. whether it is worthwhile to visit the agency again?)

It is worthwhile for specialized service teams to visit the agency again. Next
time, the team may visit other proj
ect centres and/or talk to service users to
have deeper understanding on the local service provision.

******


1.

Date of Visit/Meeting :
22 June 2010 2:30pm to 4:30pm

2.

Name of Agency:
Family and Parenting Institute

3.

Address/Meeting venue:

Registered Address:
430 Highgate Studios, 53
-
79
Highgate Road, London, NW5 1TL, U.K.

4.

Contact Person:

Ms Clem Henricson
,
Director of Research

5.

Description of Agency

including type of services provided, target served,
programmes, staffing, funding sources, and special
facilities:


This agency is the operating name of the National Family and Parenting Institute
(NFPI). It is an NGO being subvented by the Government and an independent
charity guided by a board of trustees working to champion families.

The
organization d
raws on research and evidence to influence policy and it offers
practical solutions to make society more family friendly.

Its goal is to work for a
family friendly society which values families in all diversity, promotes conditions
which enable families to

thrive. The organization aims:



to get to know families and to involve families in work;



to have evidence
-
based practice and work in collaboration with families and
others which work with families to result change;



to work to improve family life;



to find n
ew ways of working to get good results.

vi



The organization has delivered a lot of programs through school and is similar to
the Family Life Education operating agencies in Hong Kong, but on the whole
more

conscious on putting their service with evidence
-
ba
sed research.


6.

Content of Meeting:

In the meeting, the delegates were received by two other staff of the agency
apart from Ms Clem Henricson, the director of research. They introduced to us
the goals and work of the Family and Parenting Institute. They als
o shared the
key working focus of the agency in the meeting. Upon our enquiries, they shared
their advocacy for family friendly policy. They advocate for paternal leave and
flexible working time. Since April 2010, husband can share part of the
maternity
leave with his wife.


They also work for social care for the disabled children which results on
extending direct payment of subsidy to the parents, expanding community
support to the disabled children and to increase respite care for the disabled
children.

Besides, they work hard to support the separated and divorced
families as well as drawing public attention to the impact of TV advertisement on
shaping the children. In the meeting, discussion on family impact assessment was
also held.


The agency has a
lot of publication on families and family
-
related themes. In
the meeting, the books being published by the agency were displayed.


7.

Observation

This agency is similar to some Family Life Education operating agencies in Hong
Kong. It is appreciated that t
he agency puts much effort on having
evidence
-
based practice and will conduct research to influence policy and
advocate for more family
-
friendly society. The agency has completed research
on "Family trends: British families since the 1950s”, “Family Well
-
being”, etc. ,
and is currently with the following researches at hand:



“Knowing families”



“Parental engagement in early home learning”



“Relationship support”



“Learning from older couples and carers about care needs”

The rich publications of the agency are also of reference value to our social work
vii


practice on promoting family and parenting work in Hong Kong.


8.

Recommendations:

(eg. Whether it is worthwhile to visit the agency again)

This agency is worth visiting and i
s recommended to have further networking in
future.


******

1.

Date of Visit/Meeting
: 21 June 2010

2.

Name of Agency
: Parenting across Scotland

3.

Address/Meeting Venue
:
1 Boroughloch Square Edinburgh EH8 9NJ

4.

Contact Person
:

Alison Clancy, Project
Officer

5.


Description of Agency
, including type of services provided, target served,

programmes, staffing, funding sources, and special facilities:

Parenting across Scotland is a partnership of charities which offers support to
children and families in

Scotland. The charities work together to focus on
parenting issues and to help realize agency’s vision:

"A Scotland where all parents and families are valued and supported to give
children the best possible start in life."

Parenting across Scotland suppor
ts parents and families through its information
service and partners' help lines. The agency finds out what matters to parents
and families and what they need, and get this across to politicians. The agency
also shares research, policy and good practice w
ith people who work with
families. The agency’s partners are organizations that support thousands of
parents and families in Scotland. They are Aberlour Childcare Trust, Capability
Scotland, CHILDREN 1
st
, One Parent Families Scotland, Relationships Scotlan
d,
SMC, Scottish Adoption, and Stepfamily Scotland. Parenting across Scotland is
funded by the Scottish Government.


6.

Content of Meeting
:



Introduction of the Parenting across Scotland



Sharing how families were changing in Scotland



Introduction of the Sc
ottish Government National Performance
Framework



Introduction of families in Scotland Government policies



Introduction of the workflow of policy work taken up by the agency

viii




Exchanging of Scotland and Hong Kong’s situation among delegates



7.

Observation
:

(e.g. stimulation / implications for Hong Kong)




The work focus of the Parenting across Scotland was clear.



The agency was endeavored to conduct evidence
-
based practice family
research.



By identifying NGOs which shared common value and concern, the
agenc
y built up strategic alliance in order to achieve her vision.


8.

Recommendations
: (e.g. whether it is worthwhile to visit the agency again?)

Parenting across Scotland is surely worthwhile to visit again, especially to see in
detail how they conduct
family research and how they apply findings into
practice.



******


1.

Date of Visit/Meeting
:
22 June 2010

2.

Name of Agency
:
Centre for Policy Studies

3.

Address/Meeting Venue
:
57 Tufton Street London SW1P 3QL

4.

Contact Person
:

Prof
Jill Ki
rby
,
Director


5.

D
escription of Agency
, including type of services provided, target served,
programmes, staffing, funding sources, and special facilities:


The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a think tank established since Margaret
Thatcher’
s government. I
ts

aim
is
to develop and promote policies that provide
freedom and encouragement for individuals to pursue the aspirations they have
for themselves and their families, within the security and obligations of a stable
and law
-
abiding nation.


6.

Content of
Meeting
:


Major agenda covered in the visitation are listed as below:



Latest situation of the development of think tank in UK



New direction for family policy adopted by the new Conservative
government



Strategies in making influence for policy formulation,
e.g. conducting
evidence
-
based policy study and lobbying politicians



Specific issues
-

such as the impact of family breakdown in UK

ix




7.

Observation
: (e.g. stimulation / implications for Hong Kong)


The experience of CPS is not only a research institute,

but also to provide a
platform to link up the NGOs and politician, say through seminar. The idea of
“putting the right people together” is inspiring for the reflection on the
development of think tank in Hong Kong, or in wider extent the effective model
o
f policy advocacy.


8.

Recommendations
: (e.g. whether it is worthwhile to visit the agency again?)

It is worthwhile to visit other similar agencies in the future, since it does not
only provide insights for conducting policy studies, but also to demonstra
te how
to apply the evidence generated for the purpose of policy advocacy. Even
though the political environment is different between Hong Kong and other
countries, it can provide stimulation for our own reflection.




x



Reference


Hochschild, Arlie R (2003
).
The commercialization of intimate life : notes from home
and work.


Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press,


Other

citations appeared in the above text can be found in the Book of Abstracts
attached.