NCFR Statement on Policy

NCFR's family policy activities provide non-partisan research and educational information to policy makers or to those working with them. NCFR also works with other organizations and coalitions to formulate family-friendly policies. Read more about NCFR's current and planned policy-related work here.

For more information on NCFR's annual conference policy events, and articles and publications, email Jennifer Crosswhite, Ph.D., Director of Research and Policy Education, or call her at 763-231-2887.

Statement Concerning Families and Family Policy

Families are the basic units of society and our most valuable resource. Healthy, well-functioning families provide members of all ages with rewarding, caring relationships, and with essential mutual support which is sustaining throughout the life course. Families are the major producers and consumers of goods and services. They make a central contribution to the nation's present and future workforce and enhance the quality of our society. Conversely, society has a critical effect on families. Therefore, it is essential that family policy makers recognize the reciprocal influences that families and society have upon each other.

Family members are best able to perform their vital caring functions when their own basic social, psychological, physical, spiritual, and economic needs are being met. Children develop into competent, productive, loved and loving adults with devoted and sustained parenting. The later years of life are made more productive and satisfying when families are empowered with the resources to provide support and care as it is needed. Strong families provide intimacy, security, and commitment to their members, and need to be supported, not supplanted in their caregiving roles throughout the life course.

Well-formulated family policies empower family members to perform their functions and to meet their individual and family needs. These policies provide resources and help create environments that prevent or ameliorate societal conditions that seriously threaten or diminish familial competence. Effective policies and practice are implemented through well-financed, appropriately staffed programs and organizations at local, state, and federal levels which are consciously designed to take into account the pluralism and rich diversity of American family structures and life styles. All public policies, no matter how seemingly unrelated to family life, must be evaluated in terms of their intended or unintended impacts on family functioning.

Policy-oriented, applied, and basic research on families can help to identify the aspects of public policy, societal and familial conditions that warrant action to protect families and individuals. Members of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) contribute to families and sound family policies in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Research on the course of family life and its challenges.
  • Publication of findings, theory and programs, and policy analysis.
  • Family life education in formal and informal settings, training, and certification.
  • Practice: Provision of professional guidance, counseling, and therapy.
  • Program development and evaluation of programs designed to enhance family well-being.
  • Consultancy: Translator of research for action, programs, and policy.
  • Advocacy for sound family policies and programs at local, state, federal, and international levels.