Organizations such as the local and national government, charities, and voluntary services have been known to team up to enhance the lives of children and their families, for several years now. In a social context, their efforts are guided by a range of similar goals which they strive to achieve (Field, 2010). Members of the society also work hard to ensure that they can sustain a comfortable life that is free from struggles such as poverty. Some children may be born into needy families hence may require the help of the society to survive (Bradshaw, 2016). For countries such as the UK, both the local and national government are responsible for coming up with social policies on improving life (Ridge, 2011). These plans are used to guide individual groups on the right procedures to follow while trying to better the lives of these children and their families. This paper will analyze examples of how the social policies, put in place, in collaboration with the various groups have affected the lives of less privileged children and their families.
Social policy refers to a set procedures and welfare that are concerned with wellbeing, which includes social security, poverty reduction, living conditions among other issues. A charity is an organization whose primary focus is to offer assistance and raise money for those in need. Voluntary organizations are groups that depend on constant or sporadic volunteers for its operations.
Legislation has a pivotal role in the lives of UK residents. Originally, the welfare of most children was considered the responsibility of the parents, family and the local community. However, this later changed and more people believed that the state should also be responsible for child welfare. In the UK today there is a wide range of legislative measures that have been designed mainly to ensure that the health of children and their families are protected (GOV.UK. 2018). The government has used tax reforms and benefit systems to enhance family incomes and deal with child poverty. In 2003, the Child and Working Tax Credits were introduced with the aim of tackling poverty and supporting needy families. Britain’s legislation also has the Children’s Act which empathizes on the parental responsibility and the obligations of local communities and social services in the protected of children during their development stage (Townsend, 2014). A Child Poverty Act was also introduced in March 2010 which requires the secretary of state to meet several targets to eradicate child poverty in the future.
The National government has an integral part in establishing the community. Helping children and their families overcome poverty can make a big difference not only to their lives but also the lives of the community in general (Marmot, 2007). The national government has been committed to solving the child poverty problem by the year 2020. They have come up with several measures that will assist them in achieving their goals. In April 2011, the national government published the first national child poverty strategy, which set out the actions they would take to improve the lives of these children. In 2014 the government issued a second national plan for reducing child poverty. In this strategy, the government helps more people to work and they cut costs to support most low-income families’ living standards. They have also raised education attainment by increasing the number of less fortunate kids getting the quality pre-school education (Moffitt, 2011). Parents have also been assisted in providing the best home environment by offering parenting classes and providing free books to needy families. Free healthcare plans have also been put in place to make sure that these families get treated when they are sick (Richter, 2017).
Local governments in the UK have a responsibility to improve the standards of living in a particular area. In UK today, around 27% of children live below the poverty line. It has destroyed their immediate well being and decreased their future life chances. However, this level of poverty is not evenly distributed across the country. Some local authorities have higher levels of poverty compared to others (Cpag.org.uk, 2012). Many local authorities have started contacting families to offer help, information, and guidance before these low-income families begin accruing debts. For example, in some areas, some registered social landlords were being used to provide information about the local services available when individuals moved to the region (Ullucci, 2015). The local governments have also been working with their credit unions to deliver schemes that will help support these families.
There are various charitable organizations in the UK. Some of them include: Child poverty action group, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and end child poverty coalition. The Child poverty group works to understand the cause of poverty and its impact on the children and their families. The team also tries to find ways of solving the poverty problem for good. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation works with individuals from different sector to try a inspire actions to help the needy families and to come up with solutions to solving the poverty crisis (Wolfe, 2011). The End Child Poverty coalition informs the public on the causes and effects of child poverty, and like all other organization, they try to minimize the impact of poverty. All these agencies share one common goal of ending this crisis by the years 2020.
Even though different agencies independently help in improving the lives of children and their families, they still need to work together to improve the outcomes. The Children Act introduced legislation that emphasizes multi-agency collaboration. It was added to reduce social exclusion and to increase the level of coordinated efforts to support the less fortunate families (Freeman, 2006). Both national and local governments work with the voluntary services to come up with measures such as the establishment of food banks to help feed these families. Other agencies such as health care, social services, and education also work with the national and local government to improve the welfare of those children in poverty (Bellamy, 2000). In the recent years, it has been dramatically acknowledged that there is an intertwined relationship between family needs in the field of healthcare, law enforcement, education, and housing. It is therefore essential that these agencies work together to deliver efficient and effective services.
Even though various measures have been put in place to reduce poverty in the UK, there are still around 3.5 million children who are living in poverty after costs are deducted. It is considered one of the worst levels of child poverty in the developed world. An estimated 1.9 million children live in workless households in Britain. In the UK, child poverty has drastically changed over the years (Slater, 2014). In 1979 an estimated 14% of kids lived in poverty, which increased to 27% by 2012 (Bradshaw, 2016). There are several concerns that the number will continue rising and that the social policies created by the government will not be able to meet the expected target by 2020.
Social policies have a significant effect on the lives of children and their families. Children’s lives are significantly affected by the quality and type of welfare provision available. Their various needs are met through a wide range of measures which include education, social services, housing, and healthcare (Nadan, 2015). An example of a policy that has been introduced to reduce poverty is the Conditional Cash Transfer. This plan aims at reducing poverty in the short term by offering financial support to needy families and encouraging long-term improvements through making cash support condition upon specific behaviours (Alston, 1995). These transfers are usually by employment, health or education.
CCTs give immediate help in the form of cash payments, which help the recipient, get out of poverty temporarily (Bradshaw, 2015). The main priority of this policy is to promote sustainable self-sufficiency by incentivizing behaviors that would help the families in the long run. This strategy may reward people for engaging in employment; however, without investments in job creation, it can be challenging for individuals to find any jobs.
In conclusion, similar goals usually guide efforts made by various agencies to help improve the lives of underprivileged children and their families. It results in the need for collaboration among the different groups to achieve efficient and effective results. Most of the organizations have the rights concept of how to deal with the poverty crisis. However, there are no adequate policies to facilitate this. There is a growing need for more detailed procedures to be formulated to reduce the number of needy families in the UK. Agencies should also be willing to share information with each other to enable better collaborative relationships.
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