Welcome to the April 2010 issue of the Family and Parenting Institute's newsletter - Family Focus. Please subscribe to this newsletter.
2. Family Policy Digest
3. Horizon Scan
4. Forward Look
5. Notice Board
Family policy and the 2010 General Election
It’s election season – but have family issues been receiving due attention amid all the media hype? The week beginning April 12 saw the three main parties release their respective manifestos, spelling out their positions on family policy.
Dr Katherine Rake, Chief Executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, gave her assessment of what the manifestos mean for British families in a New Statesman article. The BBC also has a summary of the three main parties’ family promises.
Marriage does little for children - Institute for Fiscal Studies
An IFS study has re-iterated that children born to married parents do show higher levels of achievement – but that this is due to the different economic status of those who decide to marry. Therefore pre-existing reasons, rather than parents’ marital status, are shown to be the key to a child’s development.
Children, Schools and Families Bill
April 7 saw Labour push through a depleted Children, Schools and Families Bill in the ‘wash-up’ shortly before Parliament was dissolved. Schools Secretary Ed Balls hit out at the Conservatives for failing to support more of the Bill’s components. A Conservative spokesman said in the Guardian: “the government insisted on removing parents' rights to withdraw their children from classes they thought damaging. We think parents must have such a right.”
Other recent news highlights
The Herald reported that ‘divorce generation’ children are keeping faith in marriage despite the experiences of their parents. Preventable child illnesses are reaching 'epidemic' levels, according to Panorama. Also, a Children, Schools and Families Select Committee called for a benefits shake-up to reduce NEETs (those classified as Not in Employment, Education or Training).
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Family Policy Digest
The items in this month's digest include: child internet safety – the Byron Review progress review; the report of the Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children on physical punishment; building the National Care Service White Paper; the 2010 Budget; the Child Poverty Act 2010; the Equality Act 2010; the report and recommendations of the Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce and the Government’s response; an evaluation of the impact of Family Intervention Projects; Aiming High for Young People – 3 years on.
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Upcoming publication – is parenting really a class issue?
FPI is to release a major publication this spring entitled ‘Is Parenting A Class Issue?’ The book is edited by sociologist Dr. Martina Klett-Davies, an expert in family and gender studies, who joined FPI from the London School of Economics. It has been argued that the family is a transmission belt for the reproduction of class inequalities, economically and culturally. The title will discuss how and why parenting should be seen as a class issue. The exact release date will be announced very soon. Copies will be available to order through our website.
What does the General Election mean for you professionally?
Parliament is now dissolved in preparation for the election on May 6. Bills cannot be carried forward between parliaments – so there are no current bills being floated for the sector to discuss. Parliament is due to return on May 18.
Civil servants are currently under guidance to decline invitations to stakeholder events where they might be asked to give comments that could compromise their political impartiality at election time.
Charities should read the Charity Commission advice on how to stay within purdah rules.
A columnist in Third Sector magazine gives this tip for charities campaigning during this period: “Being prepared and understanding the intricacies of the rules now will mean you can do something smart and high-impact without getting into any trouble.”
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Inside Government focuses on social exclusion
Inside Government, the events organisation, will stage an forum entitled Tackling Social Exclusion Through Technology: Delivering Digital Inclusion on June 23in Central London (please view the agenda). Also, the organisation’s major annual social exclusion event takes place this year on September 29. It will be entitled Tackling Social Exclusion: The Way Forward. Confirmed speakers include Charlotte Clark, head of the child poverty unit within the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Tickets can be booked online.
National Family Week 2010 draws closer
National Family Week will take place with the support of FPI at the end of May this year. It will encourage people across the country to celebrate being part of a family – whatever its shape or size. FPI believes that there is no such thing as an average family.
Children’s Legal Centre: new web portal
The Children’s Legal Centre has launched a new website. It aims to provide a wide range of information to young people about their legal rights and the laws affecting them. It contains legal information all aspects of their lives – education, healthcare, discrimination, policing, age-based laws, leaving home and more. It also contains information for young people in care or leaving care, and for migrant children.
C4EO releases new knowledge reviews
The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children’s and Young People’s Services (C4EO), a consortium of organizations including FPI, has released new knowledge reviews about children’s early years. The reviews explore what works in terms of improving children’s outcomes, enhancing their learning through better family-based support and service integration. The evidence points to the importance of high quality provision and standards, information sharing between agencies and parents, and ensuring those working with young children are both trained and supported.
NICE guidance now available online
Carers, patients and the public can now access all of the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence on one dedicated site. Plain English versions and more detailed versions of advice on various health topics are available. The site gives the opportunity to search for the patient and public versions of NICE’s guidance by keyword, by health care topic, or by date.
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