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Diverging family policies to promote children's well‐being in the UK and US: some relevant data from family research and intervention studies

Philip Cowan (Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, US)
Carolyn Cowan (Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, US)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Publication date: 10 July 2008

Abstract

In response to what are perceived as the negative consequences for children of family change over the past century, governments in the UK and the US have devoted substantial funds to programmes to strengthen families, but the focus of intervention in the two countries has moved in opposite directions. In the UK, financial support has shifted away from couple strengthening to parenting programmes, while in the US financial support has shifted substantially toward couple‐focused interventions. This review article summarises studies relevant to these policy choices. We present research evidence for a multidomain family risk‐child outcome model, and then describe the results of three studies using a randomised clinical trial design to examine the impact of intervention with couples on children's adaptation. The data support the hypothesis that interventions focusing on strengthening couple relationships may have a more positive impact on families and children than interventions that focus on increasing parenting skills.

Keywords

Citation

Cowan, P. and Cowan, C. (2008), "Diverging family policies to promote children's well‐being in the UK and US: some relevant data from family research and intervention studies", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 4-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/17466660200800022

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited