This book offers a radical rethink of family policy in the UK. Clem Henricson, the family policy expert, analyses in detail the major shift in the role of the state viz a viz personal relationships in recent years, with its aspirations to reduce child poverty, increase social mobility and deliver social cohesion.Brought in by New Labour and carried forward, albeit in diluted form, by the Coalition, Henricson asks whether this philosophy of social betterment through manipulating the parent-child relationship is appropriate for family policy. She challenges the thinking behind the expectation that you can change a highly unequal society through the family route.Instead the argument is made for a family policy with its own raison d'etre, free of other government agendas. A premium is set on the need to manage the multiple core tensions in families of affection, empathy and supportiveness on the one hand and aggression, deception and self interest on the other. A set of coherent support and control polices for family relations are developed which endorse this awareness and embrace a fundamental shift in perspective for future progressive governments.
“Reading the book would benefit everyone from the first year undergraduate through to senior academics and researchers who are unlikely to have the breadth of knowledge that Henrickson possesses.” – Journal of Social Policy
"In this insightful, readable and important contribution, Clem Henricson comprehensively maps the development of family policy in the UK and the successes, failures, hopes and disappointments under New Labour and the Coalition." Professor Ilan Katz, University of New South Wales, Australia
"A brilliant analysis of 'family policies' under New Labour, and of how they could and should be developed in the future." Alan Deacon, University of Leeds
Clem Henricson FRSA is a social policy analyst who has published widely on the relationship between the state and the family. Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of East Anglia and Member of the University of Oxford Centre for Research into Parenting and Children, she was formerly Director of Research and Policy at the National Family and Parenting Institute under the New Labour Government.
Introduction; The changed landscape; What was at the root of it?; The legacy and the coalition government; What was wrong?; Looking to the future; Conclusion: the proposal and future scenarios.