Published: 19th March 2014
Figures released in the latest Family Stability Indicator have revealed that the number of children living with both birth parents had risen by a quarter of a million in 2012 when compared to the previous year.
The Family Stability Indicator, which is part of the Government's Social Justice Strategy, is intended to offer support to disadvantaged children and families throughout the UK. The percentage of children being raised by both birth parents rose to 69% in 2012 from 67% in 2011.
In low income households, the rise is slightly higher with a 3 percent increase from 45% in 2011 to 48% in 2012. Although these percentage differences are small, they make a significant increase as it accounts for 75,000 children in low income families and 250,000 children in total.
The percentage increase highlights the Government's commitment to promoting strong and stable families and the important role families play in giving children a safe and loving environment for them to thrive and develop into successful adults in the future.
A supportive family environment, whether it is through single parents, blended families or through birth parents is key to a child's development and without this, they are at risk of social problems in later life including depression, anti-social behaviour and substance abuse.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, launched a review at the Marriage Foundation Conference in December 2013 to analyse all evidence relating to family stability to better understand the reasons behind family breakdown, how effective current legislation is and whether more needs to be done.
"We know that family breakdown – or a damaged parental relationship – can have a devastating impact on children’s prospects as they grow up", said Iain Duncan Smith.
"Whereas when families are strong and stable the children tend to have better life chances. That’s why the government has taken action to support families and thereby give children the best start in life.
"Today’s figures show a rise in the number of children growing up with both their parents – and, encouragingly, the rise has been greatest amongst families on low incomes.
"The savings from this kind of social change are significant, but the most important thing is that this will transform the lives of those families for the better."
There have been a number of initiatives launched to help encourage and reward stable families including Marriage Tax breaks, a shared parental leave and pay system (which gives fathers the chance to play a more significant role in raising their children), the CANparent Trial - free parenting classes to parents of children up to the age of 6 (which an estimated number of 50,000 parents taking advantage of it by March 2014) and £448 million of investment in the Troubled Families Programme, which supports some of the most vulnerable and underprivileged families in the UK.
K J Smith Solicitors have helped many families by delivering practical solutions following a family breakdown, by helping to resolve conflict in a positive way.
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