State of the nation report: poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the UK
Around three million children in the UK have experienced the separation of their parents and the UK has one of the highest rates of teenage births in Europe. In terms of family structure, there is, for example, a strong correlation between relationship breakdown and adult illhealth and there is also evidence of significant differences between children who experience parental separation compared with children in ‘intact couple families’ across a range of educational, behavioural, emotional and health outcomes.
Executive summary – fractured families
The family is where the vast majority of us learn the fundamental skills for life; physically, emotionally and socially it is the context from which the rest of life flows. However family life in Britain is changing such that adults and children today are increasingly faced with the challenges of dysfunctional, fractured, or fatherless families. This is especially the case in the least advantaged sections of society but these trends also profoundly affect people across the socioeconomic spectrum. In this report we have sought to explore the current state of the family, and the extent, consequences and causes of family breakdown. The full report comprises four main sections and a short concluding section intended to point towards a further report (to be published in June 2007) which will propose policy solutions based on the identified problems. This Executive Summary therefore covers the four main sections in turn (introductory comments, the state of the nation with regard to family breakdown, effects of family breakdown and, finally, causes of family breakdown) and then briefly summarises the direction of travel which policy recommendations are expected to take.