While children from every social background experience family breakdown, it hits the poorest the hardest, as suggested by a spout of new statistics highlighted in a recent article by Fiona Bruce MP.
Bruce, in an effort to help the Government focus on the family as part of its wider ambitions for social reform, has assisted in the formation of a manifesto to strengthen families, which brings together 18 policy recommendations across 8 headline areas:
- Create a Government focused on supporting families
- Encourage every Local Authority to work with voluntary and private sector partners to deliver Family Hubs
- Promote the importance of active fatherhood in a child’s life
- Remove financial disincentives for those on low incomes to form lasting couple relationships.
- Use childcare funding to support parenting.
- Promote healthy relationships to tackle the country’s mental health crisis.
- Relationship education should promote a culture that supports stronger families
- Help prisons to put the role of families at the heart of efforts to reduce reoffending.
What we, at Kids Matter, are delighted to read in this manifesto is the call for Local Authorities to work with the voluntary and private sectors to deliver Family Hubs. Our experience in our sector is that there is excellent work being done across all sectors but little communication between them and too many gaps for parents to fall between. The Government could play a key role in coordinating services to meet families’ needs.
However, we also believe the church can act as those hubs for families in need. Kids Matter is partnered with the Cinnamon Network, which is invested in trying to raise the Church’s awareness of great projects being carried on in churches across the country. Often the church is guilty of not connecting the dots in terms of signposting people to other churches nearby where relevant programmes or services are available – and mums and dads (families) are at risk of being forgotten…lost in the gaps. Family breakdown is at crisis point. Good work is being done but it must be connected and talked about. Communication across sectors is crucial to the rehabilitation and preservation of families in our society!
Hubs within the Church could also be a great model to the outside world. But, this would require all churches to be open handed with what they offer to all those in need and to communicate well with their neighbouring churches and parishes. Conversation between sectors is something encouraged in Fiona Bruce MP’s ‘manifesto to strengthen families’ and for this reason we welcome it, and encourage the Church to do the same!