OnePlusOne Research and Policy Digest – September 2014
Welcome to the September edition of OnePlusOne’s research and policy digest!
Topics covered this month range from how the recession has been affecting couples and families, the links between poverty and family relationships, and how to work with dads during the first year of parenting.
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Research and statistics
Relationships, Recession and Recovery looks at how people in the UK were affected by the economic downturn from 2009 to 2012. Relate reviewed a sample of 20,000 people and grouped them according to their experiences of recession and analysed how couple relationships fared in each group. The findings show that people who suffered negative impacts of the recession were considerably more likely to have experienced deterioration in their relationship quality and stability. Although the economic recession may be receding, the fallout – the ‘social recession’ – is still very much being felt.
The Dad Project looks at how we could strengthen the relationships between dads, their child and his or her mother, and the services that work with them during pregnancy and the year after a baby is born. The project was run by the NSPCC, with support from the Design Council and funding from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. The project’s goal was to explore how organisations could improve information, advice and support for dads in order to promote their emotional wellbeing and help them to achieve better outcomes for their families.
The Tavistock Institute was commissioned to conduct a review of policy and evidence on the links between personal relationships (predominately family relationships) and poverty, with recommendations on how interventions in this area can reduce poverty. The study covered a wide range of inter-related areas including poverty and parenthood, couple relationships and their breakdown, lone parenthood, extended families and wider social contacts (grandparents, kinship care, siblings, peers and community relationships). The review found that policies and family relationships which help reconcile the tension between participation in the labour market and caring responsibilities can reduce the chances of individual and family poverty.
Policy and practice
Lib Dems will scrap married couples’ tax break and offer childcare
The Liberal Democrats will scrap the married tax allowance if they form a new government. George Osborne’s flagship tax break worth up to £200 a year to four million married couples on modest incomes would be axed under plans drawn up by Nick Clegg in order to provide state-funded childcare for all two-year-olds. At present, parents of all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of state-funded childcare a week. From this month, it will be available on a means-tested basis to the poorest 40 per cent of parents of two-year-olds. The Liberal Democrats would make it a universal benefit. Scrapping the married tax allowance will save £495 million in 2015, rising to £775 million by 2018-19. The childcare policy will cost £800 million, the Liberal Democrats said.
The Children and Families Act 2014 introduces a new right for employees and agency workers in a ‘qualifying relationship’ with a pregnant woman or her expected child to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to antenatal appointments. Where an employer unreasonably refuses time off to attend such an appointment, the employee or agency worker will be able to complain to an employment tribunal. In addition, employees and agency workers will be protected from detriment or dismissal for exercising the right to take time off work to attend such appointments. The new rights come into force on 1 October 2014.
Children’s Centres have the potential to increase the number of childcare places they provide for disadvantaged two –year-olds by more than a third, according to new analysis by national children and families charity 4Children. Initial analysis from 4Children’s annual Children’s Centre Census, the only national survey of its kind which is due to be published in October, reveals that half of all Children’s Centres, a total of around 1,650, already provide childcare. Across the country Children’s Centres provide a total of 18,300 places for disadvantaged two-year-olds. According to the census, a further 6,200 two-year old places will be offered over the coming year, an increase of more than a third.
In April 2015 far-reaching changes will be introduced to ‘transform’ the way that offenders are rehabilitated and to reduce the risk they reoffend. Offenders serving sentences of less than one year will be subject to statutory supervision. Support and supervision of low- and medium-risk offenders will pass from the probation service to voluntary and private sector providers commissioned through regional Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC). Higher-risk offenders will be supervised by a new national probation service. Offenders serving short sentences and those with less than three months to serve should be held in ‘resettlement prisons’, in or linked to the area in which they will be released. Resettlement services should be organised on a ‘through the gate’ basis, making greater use of mentors than at present and with providers paid in part according to the outcomes they achieve in reducing reoffending.
Deborah Carr; Vicki A. Freedman; Jennifer C. Cornman; Norbert Schwarz (2014), Journal of Marriage and Family 76 (5): 930–948,
Collins, L; Feeney, B, (2014), Personality and Social Psychology Review, doi: 10.1177/1088868314544222 / August 29 2014
Sharon Sassler and Amanda J. Miller (2014), Family Relations, 63 (4): 538–553
Vicky Lyssens-Danneboom and Dimitry Mortelmans (2014), Journal of Marriage and Family 76 (5): 949-966
Vijay Singh, MD, MPH, MS, Richard Tolman, PhD, Maureen Walton, MPH, PhD, Stephen Chermack, PhD and Rebecca Cunningham, MD (2014), Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 27 (5): 661-668
Ximena B. Arriaga, Nicole M. Capezza, Jason T. Reed, Eric D. Wesselmann and Kipling D. Williams (2014), Personal Relationships, DOI: 10.1111/pere.12048 / September 18, 2014
Amber Vennum and Matthew D. Johnson (2014), Family Relations, 63 (4): 439–452
Susan Sprecher, Corinne Zimmerman, Beverley Fehr (2014), Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31 (5): 697-705
Beverley Fehr, Cheryl Harasymchuk, Susan Sprecher (2014), Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31 (5): 575-600
Siham Yahyaa & Simon Boag (2014), Marriage & Family Review, 50 (6): 480-504
Felicia J. Tuggle, Jennifer L. Kerpelman, and Joe F. Pittman (2014), Family Relations, 63 (4): 496–512
Jonathon J. Beckmeyer, Marilyn Coleman, and Lawrence H. Ganong (2014), Family Relations, 63 (4): 526–537
Peter B. Gray, Justin R Garcia, Benjamin S Crosier, Helen E Fisher (2014), The Journal of Sex Research, doi: 10.1080/00224499.2014.941454 / August 11, 2014