Breakdown family

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THE CAUSES OF FAMILY BREAKDOWN
The factors which drive family breakdown are varied and
complex. They exist at a personal and family level, and are
impacted by a wide variety of external social factors.
Many of the social problems which drive family breakdown are also exacerbated by it as we noted above.
Family structure and family process – D3
It is evident from the research that familyproblems do
not vary so widely as to make policy solutions an unrealistic goal. We have concluded on the basis of the extensive
evidence that both family structure and family process
matter. The statistics indicate that marriages are far more
likely to provide a stable environment for adults and children than cohabitation and are more resilient when the
family is facing a crisis or stressfullife event such as childbearing. Importantly we also conclude that family process
fractured families • 11matters and that families work best and thrive when conflict is low. Indeed, conflict management within families
has to be a key consideration for public policy as the key
issue for children’s wellbeing is the level of conflict
between their parents, not the level of happiness in theirparents’ relationship.
The role played by poverty – D4.1
Research and anecdotal data highlight the extent to which
financial worries and debt place enormous strain on family life. We quote research on low-income families which
acknowledges that “In addition to the constant stress of
making ends meet financially, and of working in unstable,
low paying jobs, they have the frustrations of living insub-standard housing in poorly serviced neighbourhoods, without adequate transportation and they and
their children are continually in fear of crime and violence. Members of their immediate or extended families
may be struggling with depression, alcoholism or drug
abuse, HIV/AIDS, or may be in and out of jail or some
combination of those problems. Domestic violence is
more prevalent….blackand other minority individuals
are constantly exposed in the workplace or on the streets
to incidents of racism and discrimination. Service
providers who work with these couples note how often
these accumulated stresses spill over into home, and anger
and frustration too often poison their relationships
between parents and children.”
Poor housing as a contributor to family breakdown – D4.2Similarly, we look closely in this section on the effect of
poor or inadequate housing on family stability and conclude that housing policy can inadvertently drive or at
least accelerate breakdown if families are housed at a
remove from their extended family or a local support
network. Moreover we find that families who have little
choice about their housing are at a significantdisadvantage. They are placed under pressure by an inability to
mould the space in which they live, to change or alter
that space as the needs of family members change over
time. The housing charity Crisis explained to us that
“housing should not be interpreted merely as a physical
space - but rather as providing ‘roots, identity, security,
a sense of belonging and a place of emotional wellbeing’ - andthe impact upon families of inadequate
housing should be seen through this multi-dimensional
prism.”
Employment factors – D4.3
The presence or absence of appropriate employment is
another important influence on family formation and
sustainability. Research indicates that there is a relationship between the level of lone parenthood in a particular geographical area and poor job opportunitiesfor men. Employment opportunities appear to play an
important role in influencing the supply of marriageable men.
Tax and benefits – D5.1
Related to this is what has been termed the “partnership
penalty” which the welfare state imposes on poor couples.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that families on
modest incomes may suffer a large financial penalty if the
parents live...
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