Bearing in mind the maxim that you have to spend some to make some, it's high time the government looked seriously at developing the 'family hub' model, proposed by the Centre for Social Justice.
The concept follows the successful implementation of Sure Start Children's Centres
. They would be community-based locations, providing access to families to a range of vital services and could prove particularly effective in areas of high deprivation where a degree of stability is needed in families and across communities.
If the human need isn't evident, look at some figures. Family breakdown costs the economy and the taxpayer an estimated £46 billion per year. Individual family court cases cost the taxpayer £1,618 per day in staff costs. It is self-evident that current approaches to managing family breakdown are not effective for the children and parents affected - or for taxpayers.
Family hubs would become a one-stop place for a parent to get information about all the issues that affect their family's well-being, and direct access to many of them. From ante- and post-natal services, through to assistance with childcare, employment, financial advice, relationship support and, key for my profession, the vital support that's needed when a family breaks down.
The need for community-based advice of this type is clear. The economic downturn of recent years, combined with the squeeze on legal aid eligibility has led to a massive increase in demand for advice from separating families who don't know which way to turn and who lack the resources to research and investigate all their options.
There is no mistaking that government intervention and investment can help tackle the root causes of poverty, supporting disadvantaged communities; but that is not likely to happen in the short term.
The vision of our politicians rarely extends further than the next election. It's usually highly influenced by perceived 'value for money'. That's one reason why it would be foolish to expect a quick government acceptance of family hubs as a solution.
It took a generation for the positive impacts of Sure Start to be seen and widely accepted, and so the wisdom of the family hub approach would require patience. Getting evidence of their successful outcomes would truly be a long-term game. But, first of all, ministers need to pick up the ball and start playing.