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Issues - Children as parents - 40% are one parent families

One-parent families raising 40% of city's children

ABOUT 40 per cent of Glasgow children are raised in single-parent families, a new report reveals.

The proportion of Scots children being raised by one parent has more than doubled in the past 20 years. And Scotland has the highest percentage of lone parent families in the UK.

New research by the children’s charity, NCH Scotland, shows a huge gap between children growing up in poverty and those faring well.

Children who have the poorest start in life as a result of poverty and isadvantage were found to be the most likely to experience difficulty throughout their lives, according to the study.

Figures show that only 10 per cent of Scots children were in lone-parent families in 1981. That figure had jumped to 25 per cent by 2001. Glasgow has the highest rate in the country.

The study also reveals 43 per cent of Scots children are registered to unmarried parents.

Christopher Holmes, the director of children’s services for NCH Scotland, said: "A large number of young Scots have never experienced stability and never get the chances offered to others.

"Progress is being made in helping to reduce poverty and give these young people a better start in life. It is clear Scotland faces a formidable challenge in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children.

"We need to develop more services that support families and prevent problems developing out of control."

The report, Factfile 2004, provides in-depth information about this issue facing children and young people in Scotland.

Researchers found children from the poorest backgrounds generally did worse in school and were more likely to wind up jobless and involved in crime.

The number of children referred to children’s hearings has hit an all-time high, soaring to 37,727 in 2002-3, compared with 17,950 in 1972.

The number of children referred to local authorities for child protection inquiries rose by 12 per cent in 2003 to 8,000.

SOURCE: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=761422004&20040703194603

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