Fix My Family was a fascinating documentary on BBC2 last night, about a hostel run by the charity Save the Family. The charity, founded by the remarkable Edna Speed, works to keep homelss families together, to prevent children from being taken into care, with all the dreadful outcomes that so often follow both for individuals and for society. The hostel instead takes whole families into care, and gives them support to re-build relationships and move away from damaging patterns of behaviour. Most of the parents they help have very few parenting skills, a result of the poor parenting they themselves received. All the people who work at the hostel have themselves experienced family breakdown, and have huge reserves of empathy for the individuals and families they are attempting to nurture. Controversially, Christianity and chapel services feature prominently in their thinking and their methods. The programme highlights the anguish that families in crisis experience, the immensely hard work required from all the individuals and agencies involved for change to happen, and the enormous value of that work in rescuing families on the brink of falling apart.
There is an interesting article by Samantha Callan here about the background to the programme and the implications of family breakdown.