The government has promised to spend millions on relationship support services for unemployed families.
Ministers have claimed that this focus is because joblessness creates additional stress and strain within relationships and children can suffer as a result.
Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green told The Guardian that when parents argue their children “pick up tension and it leaves them with less emotional bandwidth to deal with day-to-day problems”.
He said the two biggest problems that needed to be tackled when it came to children involved those “of workless households who need more help and children whose parents are in conflict whether or not they are together”.
This new focus comes following the publication of a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) analysis which suggested that unemployed people were “considerably more likely to experience problems with their relationships, have poor mental health and be in problem debt”. The DWP also claimed that as many as 300,000 “workless families” could be affected by parental conflict.
Relationship support funding will be part of a £215 million injection of funding into the Troubled Families programme. This scheme was launched in 2012 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron following the infamous riots which took place a year earlier. It was designed to help hard up families deal with various social problems through local authority funding. However since its inception, the programme has been widely criticised by politicians and researchers alike for its lack of effectiveness. Last year, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research insisted that the programme has had no significant impact on the families it is supposed to help.
Photo by Max. G. via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.