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Poor argument

Your report (TES, August 15) on the effects of broken homes as against childhood poverty does not appear to sustain the contention that the traditional family is not as important as some people try to make out. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has been plugging this line for decades, but has been powerfully challenged by, among others, Norman Dennis in Rising crime and the dismembered family.

The fact that, according to your report, "the risk of psychological problems at 16 and depressive tendencies at 33 were markedly greater for children who had been taken into care or had lived in squalid housing" does not prove that poverty is worse for children than a broken home. Children taken into care do not suffer from poverty in the material sense. What they lack is the warmth and security of a real family.

STEWART DEUCHAR

Dean Farm Singleborough, Milton Keynes

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