A great many of the social problems we face in the Australian community are rooted in the decline in our capacity to form and maintain safe, stable and nurturing families in which children are raised.
There is a strong consensus among researchers that children do best in safe, stable and nurturing families. However, there has been a sharp decline in family stability in recent decades. Furthermore, the clear evidence in Australia is that the social environment for children is deteriorating, with more and more children needing out of home care, and rising levels of anxiety disorders, depression and self-harm. Family instability is associated with poverty, especially female poverty, and this affects the life chances of children. Conversely, financial struggles impact on family stability in a variety of ways.
In this section, we explore the facts about these issues and promote discussion of ways in which these problems can be better addressed.