Social Policy and Society

Themed Section on Family Minded Policy and Whole Family Practice

Introduction: Family Minded Policy and Whole Family Practice – Developing a Critical Research Framework

Harriet Clarkea1 and Nathan Hughesa2

a1 Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, UK E-mail: h.clarke@bham.ac.uk

a2 Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, UK E-mail: n.j.hughes@bham.ac.uk

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, UK policy and practice has become increasingly overt in its concern with families. In January 2010, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF, 2010) launched the Support for All: The Families and Relationships Green Paper. In its Foreword, Ed Balls, the then Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, presented ‘Strong, stable families’ as ‘the bedrock of our society’, positioning the Green Paper as ‘supporting families to help themselves’, whilst ‘ensuring that all public services play their part in supporting strong and resilient family relationships’ (DCSF, 2010: 3). The Centre for Social Justice offered an immediate response with its own Green Paper on the Family, emphasising the role of ‘family breakdown’ as ‘the root’ of ‘pathways to poverty’ for many, as well as a barrier to appropriate childhood development and positive ‘future life outcomes’ (Centre for Social Justice, 2010: 4).