Families and social policy

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  • Family and social policy
    • functionalist view
      • Social policies have been helpful in maintaining consensus in society and allowing for society to run more effectively
        • E.g NHS is helpful as it can care for the sick
    • New right view
      • Social policies for the family should not encourage family diversity
      • Social policy is leading to social issues e.g lone parenthood and teen pregnancy
      • Welfare should be cut and policies should be stricter
    • Feminist views
      • Social policies help to reinforce patriarchy and do this through:
        • Making it difficult for women to claim social benefits as their husbands should be providing
        • Restricting women from working by having high childcare fees
        • Keeping maternity pay and time far higher to reinforce the idea that women should stay at home and look after children
        • Assumptionsthat female family members will care for the sick
    • Donzelot’s view
      • Policy is controlling and is surveillance of the family
      • Donzelot outlines the agents of control which seem to have a positive effect but are really controlling family diversity
        • Healthcare workers, doctors, social workers etc use their knowledge and turn families into ‘cases’ increasing surveillance
    • Important policies influencing the family
      • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 protected workers on the characteristics of sex and marital status
      • The Divorce Reform Act 1969 changed the divorce process and allowed women to file for divorce for any reason. It also became cheaper and easier to divorce
        • 1984 -  divorce was allowed after one year, changing this from the previous 5 year rule
      • The Equal Pay Act 1970 meant that men and women were paid the same for the same job and it was now illegal to  underpay women
      • The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 allowed same-sex couples to have their relationship legally recognised and meant that they had similar rights to married heterosexual couple s
        • The Marriage Act of 2013 allowed same-sex couples to be married and have identical rights
      • The Employment Protection Act 1975 meant that pregnant women could not be fired from their job on this basis
      • The Child Benefit Act and its subsequent changes gave money to parents depending on their circumstances and the number of children
        • Those with a household income over £60k do not get CB
      • Income Support for Lone Parent families has been changed in recent years and gives a small benefit if you are pregnant/ mother, do not work full time and have low/no income
      • The Adoption Act 2002 changed the law on adoption and allowed unmarried (including same-sex) couples to adopt with the same rights as married couples


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