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Providing the right help to families with vulnerable boys will save money in the long run

The attitude of some Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) parents with vulnerable boys is preventing them getting involved with the education and development of their young boys and may be leading to their involvement in crime, according to research conducted by the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) published today.

BTEG is a national charity working with BAME communities and is funded through the Government's Tackling Race Inequalities Fund. The research was undertaken to find out the support needs of BAME families with vulnerable boys and at risk of poor educational attainment, involvement in youth crime and/or mental health care concerns.

The research findings are based on interviews and workshops with 100 BAME ethnic parents across four regions, between March and May 2010. The study found that many parents recognised the importance of education but did not prioritise education as a vehicle for social mobility.

Reasons given for the lack of prioritisation and engagement in schools included: a busy life-style; having to work long hours and holding down a second job. These factors have left some parents with little or no time to reinforce or support the education development of their child. One parent stated "By the time I come home from a long shift there is no time left in the evening to check their homework or to go to parents' evening."

The report concludes that just as the reasons are multiple, so are the solutions. It recommends that action need to be taken at four interlocking levels and provides an outline 'Action Plan' for moving forward and calls on policy makers to consider how they respond to the needs of BAME families through existing and proposed strategies. Key actions include:

  • More time is required to monitor and evaluate the take-up of Family Intervention Programmes by BAME families. In particular, the extent to which the programmes prevent escalation into crime and/or anti-social behaviour, raising attainment by developing parenting skills and improving the confidence of parents.
  • Commissioners of services need to give more consideration to the commission process because while there are some effective parenting programmes, the quality assurance processes in place for some commissioned projects lack rigour and systematic evaluation.
  • National, regional and local BAME support organisations should target local groups working with families to help improve their capacity and information dissemination. Local groups need access to support and funding in order to expand their services.
  • Further work is required to determine the effectiveness of supplementary education projects in the UK and how to signpost parents to effective provision.

The report's author, Karl Murray, BTEG's Head of Research stated that:

"The report challenges parents, community organisations, local and national government to tackle poverty and the pressure placed on BAME families, many of whom are having to work twice as hard in order to standstill. The effect of which is to leave the education of the children in the hands of the professionals, and with the level of demands they are already facing, makes this very much a hit and miss situation."

Jeremy Crook OBE, Director of BTEG, added that "We want the report to be a wake up call for BAME parents, schools and local councils because it is clear that families need more support to guide their children through education and away from negative influences. Supporting families with vulnerable boys must be part of the Big Society agenda."




1. BTEG is a small national charity which was set up in 1991 by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) voluntary and community organisations from across the country. The charity works tirelessly to support local Black and Minority Ethnic organisations that help people into work and advises government departments. BTEG is supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government's Tackling Race Inequalities Fund.

2. The projects funded through TRIF aim to tackle: Equal opportunities for people from BME communities; Inequalities of access to services; Increasing civic participation; Tackling racially motivated crime; Helping disadvantaged groups and Research into race equality. BTEG was contracted to deliver against three interlocking strands: Strengthening and developing local BME forums; Policy development and information sharing; and Research into understanding the support needs of BAME vulnerable families with young boys.

3. The research extended the work being done on the REACH Community Engagement Programme (RCEP). Whereas the RCEP activities focused primarily on engaging with local organizations working with young boys, the aim of the research was to focus on BAME families to understand the issues and challenges that they are facing in accessing appropriate support services 

4. The Executive Summary Report can be downloaded below. The final phase of the project will be launched as part of a national conference being planned for 24th March 2011. For further details and to register an interest in the conference, please contact: Karl Murray, Head of Research. Tel: 020 7843 6133 or email:

5. Contact: Karl Murray, Head of Research, Black Training and Enterprise Group, Lancaster House, 31-33 Islington High Street, London N1 9LH. Tel: 020 7843 6133

Registered charity No: 1056043


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