Earlier this week Prime Minister David Cameron made a number of pledges intended to help struggling families with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of children and lifting them out of poverty. His vision sees parenting classes becoming the norm and strong family bonds being fostered, with Mr Cameron describing families as “the best anti-poverty measure” there is. The driving force behind this statement is a government statistic that children are twice as likely to live in poverty if they come from a household that has experienced family breakdown.
Funding to support relationships will be doubled to £70m over 5 years in a bid to keep families together. The money will be used to provide support programmes and counselling for couples. The government did acknowledge that in certain circumstances it is appropriate for couples to separate but emphasised that a strong family unit would be at the heart of its agenda between now and the next election.
The Prime Minister also focussed on the need for good parenting and for parents across the social spectrum to have access to parenting classes.
Quote: We all have to work at it. And if you don’t have a strong support network – if you don’t know other mums or dads, having your first child can be enormously isolating.
However, the announcement was not entirely well-received. Most tabloid papers chose to focus on Mr Cameron’s perceived ‘lecturing’ on good parenting, something they found ironic given he is well-known for having left his daughter Nancy in a country pub after a family meal.
Other sections of the media characterised the plans a “lessons in how to discipline children” and over-stepping the mark between the state and private family life.
It remains to be seen whether the government scheme will be successful, with its last big push for parenting classes in 2013 being taken up by only 2% of those eligible to attend
A key announcement which was welcomed across the board was £290m extra in funding to support women suffering from post-natal depression.