Cardinal discusses family support with children's minister

 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, representatives of the Catholic voluntary sector and Margaret Hodge, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, shared the view that support for families must be a key priority in the Government's agenda, at parliamentary briefing organised by Caritas-social action, the social justice agency of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. Margaret Hodge congratulated Caritas for its policy briefing 'Keeping Families Afloat', which takes stock of the reality of family life in England and Wales today and calls on Government to improve and extend the quantity and quality of family support services and to take a family focused perspective on all policy development and implementation. Margaret Hodge recognised the "crucial role of the Catholic voluntary sector not only as provider of social care services but also as an equal partner in the planning and decision making process of family policy." Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said: "Catholic social teaching is clear that families are the building blocks of society. It is said that the Church shouldn't be political, but of course we are political as far as family life is concerned. The input of the Church in strengthening families is vital for the well being of society. Building strong families is a sensible and cost-effective goal of Government social policy." The Cardinal thanked both Caritas-social action and the Government for work they do to support vulnerable families. Sarah Lindsell, Director of Caritas-social action said: "We are delighted that Margaret Hodge, on behalf of the Government, not only welcomes and shares our views on the difficulties facing families, but also recognises the valuable role the Catholic charities play in keeping families afloat in today's turbulent world". The briefing at the Houses of Parliament was hosted by Caritas' parliamentary friends Andy King MP and Joe Benton MP, and brought together representatives from the Catholic voluntary sector with cross-party Christian parliamentarians. To read the 'Keeping Families Afloat' parliamentary briefing paper visit: Source: CCS

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