Families across the city are suffering as a result of poverty and austerity measures and all too often it is children who are hit the hardest.
But while there is no denying many in the city face hard times, moves are afoot to narrow the gap between affluent youngsters and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A report published by Dundee City Council lays bare the challenges ahead as it prepares to make some of the most radical changes to family services in years.
These include having ordinary parents and grandparents on hand to help those in need and making child care available on an ad hoc basis.
For many years, the city has had the second highest rate of children in care in Scotland, linked to high rates of substance misuse including heroin and valium reported domestic abuse and teenage pregnancies.
Bert Sandeman, manager of Dundee’s Integrated Children’s Services, said he was well aware that the local authority had not been getting it right for some children.
He said: “The key challenge for children’s services is to narrow the gap between the affluent and well educated few and the rest of the city.
“We are in the midst of one of the most significant changes I have seen in my lifetime on how we approach family services.
“New projects are being developed that will look at solutions for every family in the community. No longer are we looking at children’s issues in isolation, but we are trying to look at the complete family.
“Everything we are doing is geared towards that.”
Mr Sandeman said the department recognised that dealing with social issues was particularly challenging during a time of budget cuts.
He said: “Children’s Services is seeking to radically change ways of working on the basis of better understanding the key challenges and possible solutions. One of the ways this has been done was to carry out a school survey of all nine to 17-year-olds to ask them directly what problems they faced and how they would like to see them dealt with.
“We also approached 1800 families across the city from all walks of life, deprived and affluent from the West End and the Ferry to Whitfield to try to get a true picture of what family life in Dundee is like.
“Now we will use this raw data to help us to help families.
“Also, we are developing a community hub in Lochee where people can again get support from a variety of social work and other health care professionals.”
Several pilot projects have already begun to provide a team approach to issues raised.
One of these is the Family Splash project, which gives families the chance to go swimming together.
Bert said: “Families told us they wanted to be able to take part in sports activities together but couldn’t afford it. We introduced the splash project that lets a whole family into a swimming session for 1.
“We can also provide towels and costumes if needed, free bus travel to the pool and snacks after their swim.
“This has been a huge success and we have secured funding for this to continue for a further three years.”
Another successful project that is to be extended is the Discovering Bairns group, where parents and grandparents get together to support others in their situation, offering guidance and advice to others who might not be so willing to go to “a man in a suit” for that help.
Other schemes include making affordable child care available when needed and not just in regular placements and opening classrooms in schools over the Easter holidays to offer advice to families in need of support.