Marriage is vitally important in providing stability for children
Some readers will be aware of a recent report that said that we now have over 580,000 needy/vulnerable children and young people in this country – nearly 20 per cent of the 11 million children in the UK.
Having worked in one of our economic and socially deprived areas for many years, I saw at first hand many of these children.
Some were known to the authorities, but many were not on any official register. Quite a few were in second and third generations of severe need.
It was also very evident that because of their situation, many of these children would fail to get acceptable grades at school; would struggle to get a job and would perpetuate the need through producing yet another generation of vulnerable children.
Whilst hearing this report, I could not help realising that the percentage of needy children that come from stable homes where both birth parents are still living under the same roof is vastly smaller and that there has been an obvious correlation between rising divorce rates and these appalling figures.
I am convinced that the harm that is done to the children at the time of a divorce and the effect on the children in subsequent years is a contributory factor to this blot on our society.
Another is the staggering increase in one-parent families and whilst some are doing a sterling job in raising their offspring, tens of thousands are struggling and the instability has a knock-on effect on the children. The old marriage service stated that society would be strong where the marriage bond was held in honour. Sadly, this has not been the case for many years and now we are reaping the results.
The report asks the question, “What can be done?” Sadly, there is no quick fix. However, I would suggest that the lawmakers stop sending mixed messages to our country and say that marriage is vitally important. I would also suggest that couples should not think only of themselves when they are considering a separation.
It makes me sad and angry when so many children are deemed to be a nuisance to their parents and are left to fend for themselves.
Finally, our social services are overrun by this vast need and are sinking under the legislation and shrinking budgets, so I would plead for us all to get alongside some of these children and young people and seek to give them a helping hand to get a stable footing on which to build their lives.
Roy Whittall, Oswestry