Letter: Single-parent family matters

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The Independent Online
Sir: While welcoming the appointment of Virginia Bottomley as 'co- ordinator on family policy' ('Bottomley to target child care', 11 March) - albeit three months into the International Year of the Family - what is needed is a co- ordinated response from ministers to the variety of issues facing families today.

The themes adopted for the International Year of the Family - poverty, work and relationships - show that a coherent strategy for helping families cannot be purely based in the Department of Health but must come from several government departments. We hope therefore that Virginia Bottomley will spearhead a co-ordinated family policy that addresses the real needs of families.

In addition we would urge the minister to use her new role to dispel some of the nostalgia for the 'traditional' family evident in some sections of government. One in five families is headed by a lone parent, many of whom are trapped on benefits and pushed to the margins of society. We very much hope that our new minister for the family will promote a modern view of the family that brings one-parent families into the mainstream of family life.

Yours faithfully,

SUE SLIPMAN

Director, National Council

for One Parent Families

London, NW5

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