Cristina Odone

Head of Family

The CSJ is the only think tank in Westminster to recognise the importance of the family and the Family Policy Unit works to ensure that government policy reflects this. As an author and journalist whose writings have long focused on parenting, inter-generational relationships and family structure, I have found heading the Family Policy Unit a natural fit. My work — as a columnist at the Daily Telegraph and The Observer; Deputy Editor of the New Statesman; and editor of the Catholic Herald — has convinced me that a strong and stable family should be a policy priority. By teaching responsibility and reciprocity, the family offers the first template for all relationships. For both parents and children, it instils a sense of identity and influences outcomes longterm. Despite its unique role, the family has been ignored by successive governments that preferred to relegate this issue to the private sphere rather than address it in public policy. The role of our Unit, therefore, is one of advocacy, as well as research: we seek to persuade politicians and the wider public that family matters.

As founder of the Parenting Circle charity, which supports parents through peer to peer discussion groups, I experienced first hand the impact of small local charities — and have been immensely proud of the collaboration our Unit, and the CSJ more widely, enjoy with our Alliance of charities.

I read Modern Studies at Worcester College Oxford University and sit on the External Advisory Panel of the University’s Faculty of Theology and Religion

Something you might not know about me

I live in west London with my husband Edward Lucas. Our three children are grown up but we still have Panda the cockapoo. He is an easier family pet to keep than the cheetah we had at home when I was a toddler.

Sign up to the CSJ Leader Column