Government releases strategy to combat poverty and promote social justice

Tristan Donovan
Monday, March 12, 2012

The government has set out its comprehensive blueprint for improving the life chances of the most vulnerable families today (13 March).

Strategy aims to make a positive difference to all struggling families. Image: Christopher Jones
Strategy aims to make a positive difference to all struggling families. Image: Christopher Jones

The Social Justice Strategy is intended to co-ordinate work across central government to help families facing multiple disadvantages.

It emphasises the importance of joint working and looks at how a mix of public, private and voluntary sector organisations can deliver intervention services at local level, to prevent vulnerable families from reaching crisis point.

"The fact is that many families and children come into regular contact with government agencies throughout their lives," said Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

"They will be meeting with health visitors, social workers, school officials and even Jobcentre staff. It’s at these critical points that we must be more joined up, more brave and offer help to people to turn their lives around."

The strategy highlights measures already annouced by government, including the drive to turn around the fortunes of 120,000 "troubled families", extra funding for relationship support and the pledge to double the reach of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.

It also cites government's investment in 4,200 new health visitors and the extension of free early education provision to disadvantaged two year olds as measures that will help tackle social injustice.

Meanwhile the strategy restates the government’s intent to support marriage and reverse the so-called "couples penalty" in the welfare system.

"When families break down, the consequences can be severe," Duncan Smith said. "That means we have to get behind stable families, not shrug our shoulders when they fall apart."

Anne Longfield, chief executive of the children’s charity 4Children, said: "The publication of the Social Justice Strategy is an important next step in plans to redraw support for families by intervening early and helping them to turn around their problems and prevent crisis."

She added: "The government’s bold strategy, which focuses on the prevention of crisis, has the potential to make a positive difference to all those families who are struggling."

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