Sir, Melanie Phillips’s excellent article (“Family fragmentation comes at a tragic cost”, Comment, Dec 21) could have been written after any of the horrendous child murder cases that have arisen in the past few decades. It was my close involvement as a Family High Court judge with the Baby P family saga in 2008 (among many similar cases) that provoked my decision to found the Marriage Foundation more than ten years ago, precisely because the research showed then (and even more now) firstly that stable families are the bedrock of a child’s security, not only emotionally and psychologically but also physically; and secondly that such stability is three times more likely to be found within married families (including civil partnerships) rather than cohabiting families. Governments of all hues have known this for years but have refused to acknowledge it via legislation and other measures designed to encourage and support marriage and family stability. Meanwhile the desperately overworked social workers once again provide an easy scapegoat. Plus ça change.
Sir Paul Coleridge
Chairman, Marriage Foundation