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Full Time Mothers

campaigning for real choice for families

Book Reviews

Family Policy, Family Changes; If You've Raised Kids You Can Manage Anything; What Mothers Do; Endangered; Why Love Matters; A Mothers' Rule of Life; Seven Myths of Working Mothers; Choosing to be different; Baby Hunger; The Miseducation of Women; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families; Broken Hearts; Mother Love; The Smart Woman's Guide to Staying at Home; Ghosts from the Nursery - Tracing the Roots of Violence; Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century - Preference Theory; The Social Baby; Expecting Adam; Good Food for Kids; Access to Maternity Information and Support; Single Parents in Focus; The London Baby Directory; Marriage-Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and its Consequences; Anything School Can Do You Can Do Better

Broken Hearts - Family Decline and the Outcomes for Society by Jill Kirby

Jill Kirby's paper exposes our national ambivalence about marriage, the family and the need to build "social capital". The overwhelming majority of us still want to marry and social scientists from the left and the right confirm that, on every measurement, children are more likely to flourish when brought up by their biological parents ideally living as husband and wife. Yet, paradoxically, this national consensus has not given rise to either a national pro-family movement or cross party consensus on policies to support the family.

Anyone reading this paper will be compelled by the evidence to conclude that this situation cannot be allowed to continue. Building on her knowledge as the former Chairman of Full Time Mothers Jill Kirby succinctly provides easily understood information about marriage, the family and outcomes for children.

he well-documented statistics contained in the paper chart the reduction in marriages and the increase in divorce and in the number of children born outside marriage. They show that there has been a corresponding increase in the number of single parent families, teenage mothers and, very worryingly, in damaged children.

Marriage, as evidence in the paper demonstrates, is not just important for children's outcomes. It is also associated with a better quality of life for adults too, being linked to better health, work prospects and emotional well being.

This paper challenges our national complacency in failing to promote and defend marriage and the family. Other liberal democracies such as State and Federal Governments in America and the Australian Federal Government are successfully developing policies which support the family and the same is true of most European Countries and there is growing evidence that these policies work.

In the words of Jill Kirby: "The nurture of children should be a primary objective of every civilised society. The perverse consequence of our fiscal, social and welfare policies has been to incentivise and institutionalise child neglect. It is time for a new approach"

Guy Hordern

For a copy of "Broken Hearts" (£7.50) contact the Centre for Policy Studies, 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL. Tel: 020 7222 4488 www.cps.org.uk