Social policies are the laws and practices put in place by the government that effect social issues, such as the health and social services, the welfare benefits system, schools and the family.
Most social policies affect families in one way or another. Some are aimed directly at families, such as laws that govern marriage and divorce, abortion and contraception, child protection and adoption etc. Other policies are not necessarily aimed directly at families but still have an effect on them such as the policy of compulsory educations means parents can go out to work while schools basically provide a free ‘child minding’ service, and ‘care in the community’ means that it is usually family members who take care of the sick and elderly rather than hospitals and nursing homes.
In the UK there are many social policies that include being able to marry only one person at a time and of the opposite sex although this policy has changed in a way thanks to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Social policies that affect divorce include whether or not divorce is legal, the amount of time you have to stay married before divorce is possible and who gains custody of the children. They tried to make a lot of laws around divorce to put people off of it; however in today’s society divorce is a lot more accessible. Social policies that effect welfare includes the child benefits that all primary carers of children receive, benefits available to single parents, unemployment benefits, housing benefits and pensions.
Different countries all over the world have very different laws that affect the family and these laws are constantly changing to fit in with different circumstances and the political ambitions of the countries' leaders. For example, in Nazi Germany in the 1930s the government decided that only the 'racially pure' should be able to have children. Many of those who were not seen as fit to breed, such as the mentally and physically handicapped, were sterilised against their...