Social Policy for Families and Children - Essay

November 25, 2014  |  By  | 

2 health, poor cognitive development, low self-esteem, poor educational achievement, homelessness, poor housing conditions, and poor environments’. The lasting effects of child poverty were recognised by the government , with ‘social exclusion’ being a particular concern on the impact of the economy (Waldfogel, 2010, p. 30). Early intervention measures, proven to improve the outcomes of children, were implemented to combat the lasting effects of poverty (ibid, p.31). Poverty in Britain, measured in relative terms, defines the poverty line to be below 60% of the median (average) income of a family (ibid, p.13). With 40% of children in lone parent families in 1997 living in poverty (ibid, p.27), the New Deal for lone parents introduced nationally in 1998, led to a rise of employment levels of lone parents, from 45% in 1997 to 56% by 2006 (ibid, p49). For working parents, the national minimum wage and the Working Families Tax credit (WFTC) introduced in1999, replaced by the Working Tax Credit in 2003, for both couples or lone parents with children who worked at least 16 hours per week, provided a higher level of benefits than the previous benefits available (ibid, pp. 53-54). Moreover, under the WFTC, up to 70% of child care costs could be claimed (ibid, p.55). Recognising that it was not always possible for parents to work (ibid, p. 65), substantial increases in the universal child benefit allowance (ibid, p.68), and the introduction of the Chil dren’s Tax Credit in April 2001, replaced in 2003 by the Child Tax Credit for a ll families ‘whether or not the parents worked’ meant that both working and non-working families were better off (ibid, pgs. 70-71). Other measures taken to tackle poverty included t he ‘Child Trust Fund’ in 2002, the Employment Act 2002 to allow parents to work flexibility and stay in work whilst attending to their responsibilities (ibid, p.73-81). T he ‘Sure Start’ centres initiated in 1999, delivered integrated services (childcare, health, family), through local Government (ibid, p82). Key to the Government’s social investment strategy was ‘, education, and education’ as highlighted by Tony Blair in his speech at the Labour Party Conference in 1996 (ibid, p. 91). This was in line with the developmental psychology and socializ ation theory’s framework with ‘childcare and education policies more oriented towards employment priorities.... rather than children’s well - being’ (Lister, 2006, p. 321). Education spending therefore increased in the decade from 1997 to 2009 (Waldfogel, 2010, p.92). Sure Start centres, initially targeted in poor areas, were seen to be particularly helpful in supporting young families with their parenting techniques to equip them to support the early

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