Support for All
With more strain placed on the family unit than ever before, shifts in policy have been designed to alleviate some of the stress and increase support. In a step away from the conventional support for the nuclear family unit of a married couple and children, the Government pledged to support all families with equal vigour, regardless of the relationship between the mother and father. Almost every policy passed through Parliament will have a degree of influence on at least one member of the family collective.
Child policy and Education
Policy aimed at children has evolved significantly in recent years with a reduction in child poverty the principal aim. Support for parents in terms of helping to find jobs and financial benefits aims to reduce financial pressure on parents and increased support with practical and emotional matters aim to ensure each child is cared for and able to achieve their full potential. In addition to Government campaigns, the NSPCC’s ‘full stop’ campaign fronted by various high-profile celebrities raised considerable awareness of the issue of child poverty in the U.K. Educational policies have also been introduced to improve the national standard of primary and secondary school education and incentives are being offered to some teenagers who choose to attend sixth-form college.
Children and Young People in Society
Today, society is driven by the consumer market and children are often targets of advertising campaigns; this can create added pressure on parents to provide certain types of toys, clothes and games which are often more expensive than standard issues of the same products. Not having branded products can lead to bullying in today’s schools; this is often a source of extreme suffering for some children. Tougher anti-bullying policies are being introduced into schools to tackle these issues but the evolution of modern technology and children’s ability to use the internet and mobile telephones makes bullying possible on many different levels and it is increasingly difficult to monitor this situation; only recently for example, a young boy committed suicide due to be bullied on a social networking site. Youth policy is now geared to getting young people off the streets and into work, training or further education; this has been proven to increase ambition and self-confidence whilst simultaneously reducing anti-social behaviour and crime.
Support for Parents
Parents, whether they exist as a team of two or as lone parents are offered increasing amounts of support to nurture their children and maintain traditional family values. Research suggests the breakdown of the family unit leads to increased societal problems such as violence and crime. Initiatives such as ‘National Family Week’ run by the Big Lottery Fund aim to increase the awareness of the importance of family life and encourage all members of the family unit to participate actively in family life.
Support for Vulnerable Groups in Society
For the elderly and most vulnerable members of society such as the disabled and single parents, initiatives such as income support, free counselling services, pension schemes and help with fuel and energy bills aim to make life easier.