Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Families without hope

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 12 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8341
  1. Colin Brewer, research director, Stapleford Centre, London
  1. brewerismo{at}

When Jesus said “the poor always ye have with you,” he presumably wasn’t joking, but governments repeatedly try to prove him wrong. Every time a new underclass disaster makes headlines, the social work equivalent of the SAS is mobilised to persuade the family to become, well, “more like us,” but it rarely works. Families Without Hope explains why and describes some typical families.

“The front garden is characteristic. An overgrowth of natural flora competes with broken bottles, sodden cardboard and the rusting remains of once-expensive toys, prams, cycle parts and other scrap. A well-worn earth path leads from the dominant …

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