Unemployed families to receive relationship support

Relationships|April 4th 2017

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.

Author: Stowe Family Law


  1. Paul says:

    Nice idea. Very forward thinking. The use of counceling will help all of us if its done in the right way. However its hard to justify the expense at the moment.
    I used to work in the job center. Alot of the people in their struggle to focus on career goals because of their dramatic home life. I can see how this could be effective. Would be a shame if they abandoned this idea because of its cost. Its long term value could be huge.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    This is a good idea in principle but is next to useless in isolation. Firstly, it will only work if both parties, mum and dad, want it to work. If the woman wants out to be free to find a better provider then that’s pretty much the end of it. The conflict will then be interpreted as abuse and the domestic violence machine will be turned against the man and the family decimated. Any such initiative would need to be alongside a program that reminds/educates people about family values and a firewall would need to be erected between families in conflict and organisations such as women’s aid, cafcass, the police and quite possibly social services. Once any of the aforementioned get involved the outcome will be perfectly predictable.

  3. Stitchedup says:

    Lawyers should be kept at bay also.

  4. Paul says:

    Helping people to be amicable has got to be better then splitting families apart then criminalising people (ushually father). The current system is just plain harmful for everyone involved. Except of course for soliciters who manage to make a nice living from the bones of other peoples family issues. I approve of trying any new system. Its not that hard to think of a better one.

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