Family policy predefines the direct of current or forthcoming “forms of family organization, behaviors, and decisions, may be implemented and enforced at local, state, and national levels” (p.602). Their goal is achieved through organized social programs and activities. We are not to mistake policy for being the program but rather they are philosophical purposes that are intentional for desired outcomes.
Implicit and explicit family policies are polar opposites of each other. Implicit policy means that it is implied or understood without stating. Explicit family policy gives intentions sometimes written or oral and is largely used in governmental family regulations which are clearly stated such as a change or reform. According to Eshleman & Bulcroft (2006), “An example of implicit family policy would be legislation that requires teenagers to attend school until a certain age. Families are affected, but the specific objective is left implicit or unstated” (p. 576). Explicit policy would be the government requiring smoking in public facilities. Also, when the government required hospitals to give four days of hospital coverage instead of the previous twenty four hour notice is considered an explicit policy.
When family policies are put into place, it becomes a family program. For example, spousal abuse is illegal. When spousal abuse became define by legislation (family policy), family programs such as CADA (Citizens Against Domestic Abuse) where formed.
“A preventative policy for all families or intimate relationships focuses on issues that affect everyone: employment, health, minimum wages, housing, gender and racial/ethnic equality, tax equity, and the like...The ameliorative, or need, position focuses on select groups or behaviors that are defined as problems: unwed parenthood, abortion, child and spouse abuse, single parenthood, divorce, homelessness, and the like” (p. 586).
I see myself as a progressive. Progressive families view equality for a variety of family units. According to Eshleman & Bulcroft (2006), “Conventional are those who believe the normal family is conjugal. Male husbands and fathers they are head of the household and the sole economic provider” (p. 581). In my family, both my wife and I work and share equal responsibility for child rearing and bringing income into the home. Equality is a constant achievement that needs to be obtained. My views are somewhat different from most progressive people as I believe that abortion should be illegal except for instances of incest, rape or the risk of the mother’s health. However, I believe in the death penalty. Some people would suggest that my views of prolife and an advocate for the death penalty conflict with each other.
For more on societal isssues see Remarriages and Step Families