Last Sunday I was on Sky News discussing 'Parents Can' an initiative announced by David Cameron to provide parenting classes to families who need them.
The aim is to support families, teaching discipline and early education. This will be piloted in three areas and if it proves successful, it will be extended throughout England and Wales. Boots the chemist will be distributing vouchers to be used to buy lessons from independent organisations such as the National Childcare Trust.
At present courts can impose such classes on the parents of unruly children, but surely it would be better for society if such support was offered as part of the normal ante-natal classes rather than only once a child has only got into trouble? Preventative support rather than post problem intervention.
Whilst I agree with any support that helps families, especially at the earliest stages of a child's life, 0 to 3, when it learns the most, this initiative has to be viewed as just one step in a range of measures introduced by the Conservative Party to support the child and family, including Michael Gove's bold educational reforms to raise educational attainment (which sadly has slumped over the last 10 years according to international league tables particularly in science and mathematics) to Iain Duncan Smith's Welfare Reforms, ensuring that work always pays so supporting people back into work and not allowing people to languish on benefits, holding back so many of our young people. All steps in the right direction, putting child and family first.