Social Policy Dissertation

Overview of Area

The New Deal for lone parents has focussed on the notion of making it easier for lone parents to return to work. The underlying aim of the policy has been stated to be making it easier for parents, particularly lone parents, back to work by making the issues relating to childcare easier to overcome. Despite this seemingly strong policy to improve the work prospects of parents, there are concerns that this agenda could have negative repercussions on other welfare areas such as the quality of childcare being provided to young children (DfEE, 1998).

Lone parents in particular present a policy challenge as there is a need to ensure that whilst putting parents in a position that they are able to take up employment this should not be done in such a way that forces parents into work when they would be better employed providing childcare at home.

Looking at the wider issues associated with the New Deal policy including the impact on childcare and child development enables a detailed policy analysis to be undertaken and recommendations for the future to be made(Zaslow, et al 2002).

Thesis to be Tested

The current New Deal agenda focuses too heavily on getting as many parents, particularly lone parents, into work. A failure to grasp the wider issues including the impact on the child of being in childcare from a young age and social factors such as the benefits of entering back into the workplace has resulted in the policy being less effective than the original aims would suggest it could be. Reform is needed to look at the wider issues and to ensure that the New Deal does not focus on short term gains with long term costs (Josh and Verropoulu, 2000).

Potential Problems

Issues relating to lone parents returning to work are often very individual with the policy being effective for one scenario but not for another. Gaining an overall perspective is therefore potentially difficult as one size does not fit all and several approaches may be necessary to answer the thesis question presented above.

Indicative Bibliography (this is merely a starting point and will be added to considerably during the thesis itself)

Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) (1998) The National Childcare Strategy. London: HMSO. http://www.dfee.gov.uk/childcare/content3.htm

Dunifon, R., Kalil, A., and Bajracharya, A. (2005), ‘Maternal Working Conditions and Child Well-Being in Welfare-leaving Families’, Developmental Psychology, Vol 41(6), pp.851-59.

DWP (2007), In work, better off: next steps to full employment, London: Department for Work and Pensions, The Stationery Office.

Josh, H. and Verropoulu, G. (2000) Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes: Analysis of Two Birth Cohort Studies, London: The Smith Institute.

Kaestner, R., Korenman, S. D., and O’Neill, J. (2003), ‘Has Welfare Reform Changed Teenage Behaviors?’, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 22(2), pp.225-248.

Millar, J. and Ridge, T. (2008), ‘Relationships of Care: Working Lone Mothers, their Children and Employment Sustainability’, Journal of Social Policy, vol. 33(1), pp.103-121.

Zaslow, M., Moore K., Brooks J., Morris P., Tout K., Redd Z., and Emig C. (2002), ‘Experimental studies of welfare reform and children’, Children and Welfare Reform, vol. 12 (1), pp.79-98.

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