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Outline and evaluate the view that state policies have a positive effect on family life

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´╗┐Patrick Tucker Outline and evaluate the view that state policies have a positive effect on family life [33 marks] State policy that influences family life refers to the policies and initiatives introduced by governments that have an effect on how family life functions. This policy can affect families either directly or indirectly; direct referring to policy regarding marriage and divorce, for example, and indirect policy referring to that regarding things such as housing and education. Over the past 30 years, the UK has seen a diverse stance on family policy?reflected by the changes in government over this period. The new right governments of Thatcher and Major saw the breakdown of families as being instrumental of a culture in decline. Thatcher saw the increase of family types that differed from the usual nuclear family as being concerning; an interesting stance, considering being the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom doesn?t fit into the traditional view of an expressive mother. However, the new right governments can be seen to have had a positive effect on family life, with examples coming from things such as the Child Support Agency?a body designed to ensure child maintenance was paid by absent parents. ...read more.


This had a positive effect on family life because it meant that children were being supported directly, rather than indirectly with state policy focussing on helping adults to care for children. Another way New Labour had a positive effect on family life was through the elongation of maternity leave as well as the increased pay?this meant that families with new-borns had more time to be present in the early stages of their child?s life, as well as not having to worry about the fiscal decisions of maternity leave. New Right thinkers, however, saw New Labour?s policies as creating a culture of dependency?their traditional view of welfare being ?a hand up, not a hand out? was not present in New Labour?s government, and they believed that this would have negative connotations for the families of the UK. New Labour shared some similarities with the New Right Conservative governments before them?one, notably, being that both governments promoted the typical family structure over any other type; however the New Labour governments can be seen to have acknowledged alternative lifestyles more than the Tories did. ...read more.


Overall, therefore, it can be seen that state policies can have a positive effect on family life?as policy set out by the state has the ability to help families in the key factors of raising and taking care of a family. The educational changes in recent years, such as making the age one is able to leave school longer serves to educate children to a greater extent to give them a better chance at succeeding in life; it also means that families are given support for their children for a greater period time, rather than if their child left school at 16. The governments of the past 30 years have differed on some policy areas, but one thing that has been present in all governments is the importance of children in the family, all governments have attempted to nurture this importance with their social policy and the aid set out by these policies has a greatly positive effect on family life. However, as with all policy from the government, some prove to be ineffective and cannot always be seen as having positive effects. Therefore, state policy can be seen as ambiguous?it can either help families or hinder them. ...read more.

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