Thursday, 23 April 2015

Poverty isn`t destiny when we have parenting programmes !

Here is a very muddled article from Duncan McNeil MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee

 Duncan McNeil MSP"Are you familiar with the work of Danny Dorling? He’s a social geographer, but don’t let that put you off. One of his books is called Unequal Health: The Scandal Of Our Times. Professor Dorling tells a story about speaking at a conference in Norway at which he began by praising the delegates for having the lowest levels of child poverty in the world. So how do you think the audience reacted? Polite applause, some coughing, a few whoops? No, he was met with a shout of: "It’s too high!"

"The response was anger, says Dorling, which helped to create "a solidarity state". I like the sound of that. The opposite of indifference to the suffering of others – of what Nye Bevan described as "social blindness". A solidarity state "

"It suggests a society brought together by connectedness and a sense of belonging, based on inclusion and compassion, and in which the currency that counts is the currency of trust. Fanciful? Sometimes I fear so. Particularly when in-work poverty is rising, when an estimated 940,000 households are living in fuel poverty – 39% of our homes – and when the health gap between postcodes is ever widening..."
"Poverty isn’t destiny," said Sir Michael. Sir Harry enthused about the early years collaborative, the family nurse partnership and the positive parenting plan. If a policy is shown to work, to make a difference to people’s lives, we should pursue it. If not, we move on. Together. In solidarity."


The implication is that parenting programmes, such as the family nurse partnership (FNP), are ways to help families out of poverty.

Anneliese Dodds in Families ‘At Risk’ and the Family Nurse Partnership: The Intrusion of Risk into Social Exclusion Policy has a different view:

"(We) are witnessing a change in social policy, to the extent that this is driven by the [Social Exclusion Unit] with an increasing focus on those individuals who are deemed ‘at risk’ and on building up those individuals’ ‘resilience’ to risks."

"The FNP can be seen as an appropriate policy in this context. The FNP does not offer mothers any additional funds or resources, and it does not create for them any new opportunities. Instead, it aims to educate mothers how to bring up their children more successfully, and how to improve their own job prospects, in the process making them more resilient.."

"This article has considered why the FNP has been promoted as a new policy to tackle social exclusion in the UK. It has detailed how proponents of the FNP link its operation to reduced ‘risks’ of everything from kidney problems to promiscuity, and explicitly propose that the new scheme should be focused on those ‘at risk’. The FNP thus fits with the SEU’s new focus on enabling individuals to become ‘resilient’ to the risks that they face, not necessarily through providing extra resources or tackling structural barriers, but through the exhortation and encouragement of professionals."

"This approach may, however, have limited impact in a context of constrained resources. Merely teaching young mothers how to keep their children safe and healthy will have few benefits if those mothers are unable to afford the time to supervise their children or to travel out of the community, if necessary, to shop for healthy food; or the money to pay for safety equipment and nutritious groceries."

"A similar point can be made with regard to transitions into paid work. Numerous studies have indicated that the long-term unemployed are as willing to undertake retraining and to enter paid work as the rest of the population: indeed, they may even be more motivated than the employed population."

"Instead of acknowledging the need for increased support for those living on low incomes, the US welfare system has increasingly become entwined with moral aspirations to manufacture ‘better’ clients and citizens (Soss, 2005). The SEU`s focus on individually based, therapeutic approaches, exemplified by the FNP, suggests that British welfare policy may be leaning in the same direction."

No comments:

Post a Comment