‘Strong families are not just important to us as individuals - they are the foundation of a stronger society’. So read David Cameron’s endorsement of National Families Week in June. Nothing controversial in that - pretty unusual for a political press release at a time when every word is scrutinised by a primed and reactive media.
I think we would all agree that a stronger society would be no bad thing, and the foundational role of families in building that society has repeatedly been identified across all sectors. But what of the families, who, having experienced the trauma of a relatives arrest and incarceration, have little strength to contribute to ‘society’, investing what remains in simply getting through each day? The message they receive from politicians remains the same; they are essential, valued, the backbone of communities. But why would you believe this when the public services you encounter day-to-day, that supposedly deliver on the words of politicians, paint such a different picture?