Family Structure Trends in Europe Essay

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The implication for social policy as a result of the changing face of the ‘family’ has been enormous. In order to evaluate them adequately, I shall look at 4 main transitory factors which have had, and are continuing to have, implications for social policy, specifically within Europe. These are: Downward trend in marriages, the rise in single parent/lone parent families, increasing participation of women in the workforce and their consequent economical success, and the incessantly declining rate of fertility. The notion of family thirty years ago was relatively simple. A married couple, two children, an extended family in the form of grandparents and even a pet were seen as constituting the…show more content…
Also, as divorce rates rise and marriage rates continue to fall, it appears to be a pattern concentrated in the lower strata of society Lewis (1992 In: Glennester Howard:British Social Policy since 1945 pp 164). Any social policy formed on this basis requires an acute understanding of a scenario that no longer fits into one basic policy applicable to all, as those from the lower strata of society will look towards the state as means of sustenance. The question for social policy is whether policies are formed for the re-integration of those who have few means to support themselves, at the same time acknowledging that any attempt to do so will be contested on the basis that these individual acts require personal, as opposed to public, rectification. Naturally the disintegration of marriage heralded in a situation that social policy makers have found increasingly difficult to combat; the rise of lone parent/ single parent families. Traditionally, a single/lone parent family was entitled to government support only when the wife or husband were widowed. In such circumstances the welfare state took an interventionist stance of supporting the widowed partner, specifically the female; Women were also granted access to their partners' pension (Glennerstein, pg 169). However, as more marriages begun to break down -and with

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