Tim Loughton says role of state in family life needs to change

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Former children and families minister Tim Loughton is calling for a shift in the relationship between the state and family.


Tim Loughton MP

In an essay for 4Children, he says that there needs to be ‘a rebalancing’ of the role between the state and family, arguing that the state should be there to support families ‘not supplant them’.

The State are Children are in is the last is a series of five essays written to celebrate the children’s charity’s 30th anniversary.

The MP notes that in the past 25 years there have been 100 separate Acts of Parliament to do with children.

Mr Loughton says he sees the role of the state as being there ‘to serve, to enable, to promote the family, not to stifle it, nor to direct or supplant, other than those severe cases where neglect or cruelty harms children.’

He writes, ‘ For many the surreptitious influence of the anti-smacking brigade, the obesity police or the accusing bureaucracy of excessive CRB checks [now DBS checks]…has led many decent parents to question their own right and capability to parent.’

In a world in which prams now have screens for babies, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham also says that ‘relationships between children and their parents are increasingly sidelined by advances in technology.’

The MP’s 10-point action plan includes:

  • ‘A family friendly kite mark similar to Investors in People to guide families to family-friendly employers and practices
  • The Government should promote the ‘Troubled Families’ programme better to join up action between professionals focused on solving multi-generational multiple problems
  • Expanding parenting and relationship support through children’s centres and programmes which he says are still too’ mumcentric’
  • Using celebrity role models to communicate ‘strong messages to impressionable young men’ to change cultural stereotypes
  • An inter-generational swap scheme where well-off pensioners can donate their bus passes to help cut the costs of travel for 16-year-olds to help them travel to work, and ‘an army of pensioners’ to mentor, for example, ‘dadless teenage boys’
  • The implementation of the 2011 Bailey Review into the sexualisation and commercialisation of children as an urgent Government priority

 Read the essay in full here

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