chapter  13
25 Pages

Children and Families

ByPaul Daniel

Children and families are at the heart of UK social policy as never before. The aim of this chapter is to examine the transformation of family policy since the 1990s. Historically, the UK approach to state intervention in the

family has been categorised as ‘reluctant and minimal’, with a primary focus on child protection. However, it is argued that increasing anxiety over the state of childhood and the role of families, together with the emphasis that New Labour placed upon ‘investing’ in children, ensured that childhood became a key site for government intervention in the fi rst decade of the new millennium. The suggestion that this constitutes a permanent and revolutionary shift in UK family policy needs, nevertheless, to be treated with a degree of caution in the light of changes in emphasis apparent in the early stages of the Coalition government elected in 2010.