Our vision, mission and history

Family Lives history

Our vision

Families should have access to active support and understanding.

Our mission

We build better family lives together. 

History of Family Lives

Family Lives was formally registered as a charity in 1999, and operated under the name of Parentline Plus. The charity's original formation as Parentline was founded in response to the tragic child abuse case of Maria Colwell in 1973, who was killed by her step-father. The parents that founded Parentline believed that there needed to be a dedicated organisation supporting parents, before they reached crisis point which could result in abuse. A merger in 1999 between the National Stepfamilies Association, Parentline and Parent Network built on the collective experience of these three charities, to provide a range of national and local services to support parents and families across the country.

Parentline Plus reverted back to its registered name of Family Lives in 2011. We still have senior members of staff from all three organisations working at Family Lives. Family Lives has also merged with two small organisations, Bullying UK and TeenBoundaries in 2010 and 2011 respectively, to further the expertise and reach of the organisation. In addition a merger with the respected Parenting UK occurred in November 2012, enhancing our work with professionals and practitioners in the parenting field. In 2014, Action for Prisoners' and Offenders' Families became part of Family Lives, working to support all those who work with families of offenders and prisoners. Currently Family Lives employs 186 staff and 236 volunteers across our central and local offices.

Our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion

Words are easy, actions much harder, but Family Lives wants to be clear that discrimination of any kind for any reason is an affront to our values and beliefs. We recognise that many of our colleagues, service users and friends within the wider community experience disadvantage and discrimination, and acknowledge that we all have a part to play to bring about systemic change. We will continue to work together to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion are not simply three words but are experiences shared by all - and we are committed to the personal, organisational and community work that must take place to make this happen.


We value being compassionate, collaborative and trustworthy


You can read more about our aims for the future in our Strategic Plan

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you call our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

We listen, support and never judge.