Cristina Odone – Head of Family Policy
After three years of keeping my head down to set up the Parenting Circle charity, I am delighted to join the CSJ as Head of their Family Policy Unit. I’ve been a long-time fan of their approach – which recognises relationships as key to good societies and effective policy. Other think-tanks tinker with bureaucracy, and focus on “process” and “systems”. The CSJ cuts through the red tape to study individuals and what they need to flourish – and what we can do to help if they fail.
This is not an exercise for the faint-hearted: some of the findings are brutal in revealing how disconnected ordinary people feel from Westminster and its inmates. And some of the solutions make for equally uncomfortable reading, because they call for self-sacrifice, long-term thinking, and faith in the institution politicians really, really fear — the family.
This is radical stuff. But radical thinking feels routine at the CSJ.
My first task here will be to write a report on how to reduce the number of children in care. The stats are shameful — 75,000 children in care; 60,000-plus on the edge of care; one in five children referred to social care before the age of five; and one in four prisoners were in care.
I’ll be traveling up and down the country to learn from pioneering schemes addressing this crisis – If anyone out there knows of a programme that works, I’d love to hear from you.