The Children’s Society’s chief executive has said compulsory measures for families such as parenting orders are not the answer to tackling social exclusion, in a Community Care Live session yesterday.
Bob Reitemeier said that “dysfunctional families” would only improve their behaviour through long-term support designed to empower them.
“For a decade we have all agreed that in order to help the most marginalised in society, we need to empower them. That word is used so often that it has become counter-productive, but power still has to be part of the social exclusion agenda,” he said.
“We must resist help by compulsion, not only on the grounds of human rights but also in practical terms. This would undermine the sustainable change in people’s behaviour we are seeking to achieve.”
Introduced through the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, parenting orders were among the first of the Labour government’s policies on antisocial behaviour. The orders force parents of children who play truant or offend to attend parenting classes and counselling.
He also called for action to tackle the “systematic exclusion” of some children, including refugees, those excluded from school and disabled children.