chapter  16
14 Pages

Making Family Policy Matter: Moving From Analysis to Action

Family is not an important thing, it is everything. —Michael J. Fox (cited in Martire & Schulz, 2007)

At present, families are everyone’s concern, but nobody’s responsibility. —Theodora Ooms (1990, p. 77)

In the preface, I compare family policymaking to Barth’s fl oating opera (Barth, 1983). Family policymaking is like the opera that is being acted out on the deck of a showboat that is fl oating up and down the river in view of the audience seated along both shores. Those of us in the audience catch part of the plot as the showboat fl oats by, but we never get the whole story. We sometimes get a glimpse of family issues, but they drop out of view before we have time to fully comprehend the plot. The aim of this book is to slow the showboat down enough to provide an overview of the whole fl oating opera-the rationale for, the substance of, and the doing of family policy . This kaleidoscopic view offers up many ways in which professionals can contribute to family policymaking-playing a lead role on center stage or providing (important) behind-the-scenes support.