Rethinking the 'crisis' in 'troubled families': relationships and the ethics of care

Bond-Taylor, Sue (2017) Rethinking the 'crisis' in 'troubled families': relationships and the ethics of care. Discover Society, 45 . ISSN .

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The Troubled Families Programme (TFP) in England and Wales was launched in 2011 in the wake of the summer riots, amidst a 'crisis' narrative of 'Broken Britain' characterised by a responsibility deficit amongst a feral and anti-social underclass. This ‘crisis’ was presented as a failure in parental responsibility, thereby justifying intensive surveillance and interventions in the family home so as to ‘grip’ families and responsibilise parents for the care of their children.
However, it is clear that the families in the TFP are those facing multiple social disadvantages, inequalities and discrimination. Neoliberal austerity politics have had dramatic impact upon relationships within and surrounding families. Parents’ failures in responsibility must therefore be reconsidered not as a failure to care, but a response to complex personal, structural and relational conditions which inhibit access to care.
By rethinking the ‘crisis’ as one of neoliberalism and the retrenchment of state support services, we can reconsider the value of family ‘interventions’ based in relationships of trust and empathy, focusing on reconstructing networks of support and inclusion in deprived communities. This article draws upon the feminist ethics of care, as explored within my research in a family intervention service, whereby families and their key workers talk about the ‘crises’ which families have experienced and the new relationships of care and support which have helped them to overcome these.

Keywords:Ethics of Care, Troubled Families, Family Interventions, neoliberalism, Austerity, Relationships
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:28009
Deposited On:17 Jul 2017 20:40

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