In this report originally appear as a chapter in the book "Unequal Family Lives: Causes and Consequences in Europe and America" published by Cambridge University Press, Richard Reeves argues that we should care about family gaps because we care about poverty and inequality, and because we care about intergenerational mobility. Policy interventions may influence both of these, but more often aim at one more than the other. He argues for policies of two kinds with regard to family stability, applicable to the United States and most European countries: Prevention and mitigation. Preventing family instability means helping families stay together in the first place, through policies that reduce unintended pregnancy rates, raise skills (especially through quality vocational training), and promote “family-friendly” work opportunities. Mitigating the family instability means attempting to limit the impact of family breakdown on the life chances of children. Mitigation can be achieved by reducing material poverty, supporting better parenting, and enhancing learning opportunities. Here, the need is for a “One Generation” approach, largely focused on children’s outcomes. (Author introduction modified)
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