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Exploring Family-Centred Practices and Healthy Family Habits

Fawziyah Chandsa family centered practice 800

Family-centred practice involves engaging with families in both formal and informal settings, spanning various service systems, with the aim of strengthening their ability to nurture and safeguard their children. It encompasses a wide array of approaches, such as advocating for better circumstances for families, providing support, assisting those in crisis to regain stability, reuniting separated families, facilitating the formation of new families, and linking families to resources that can support their long-term well-being.

We identify the following as the four fundamental elements of family-centred practice within the realm of child welfare:

  1. Central Focus on the Family Unit:

Family-centred practice places its attention on the family as a whole, ensuring the safety and well-being of all family members.

  1. Empowering Family Functioning:

The emphasis lies in enhancing the capacity of families to function effectively, empowering them to carry out their responsibilities successfully.

  1. Collaborative Decision-Making and Tailored Services:

Family-centred practitioners work in partnership with families, valuing their expertise and involving them in all aspects of policy development, service provision, and program evaluation. They deliver individualized, culturally sensitive, and pertinent services tailored to each family’s unique circumstances.

  1. Connecting Families to Comprehensive Community Support:

Family-centred interventions establish connections between families and extensive networks of support and services within the community. This involves mobilizing resources to promote effective communication, shared planning, and collaboration among various community systems directly involved in assisting the family.

What do family support services entail?

Family support services encompass community-based programs aimed at assisting and supporting parents in their caregiving role. These services aim to promote parental competence and facilitate healthy child development by helping parents enhance their strengths and address challenges that may contribute to child maltreatment, developmental delays, or family instability.

Fawziyah Chandsa family centered practice2

Who can derive benefits from family support services?

Family support services offer support and assistance to parents across the entire service continuum. While primarily intended for families prior to formal involvement with service systems such as child welfare, these services can also be valuable in supporting families that have experienced child maltreatment or family disruption. Furthermore, family support services can be beneficial for families receiving in-home services, families seeking reunification with a child who has been in out-of-home care, kinship families caring for their relative children, and families formed through adoption.

What are the characteristics of family preservation services?

Family preservation services are designed as short-term, family-centred, and community-based interventions that aim to assist families in managing significant stressors or challenges that hinder their ability to provide care for their children. The primary objective of family preservation services is to either maintain children with their families or safely reunify them.

Who can benefit from family preservation services?

Family preservation services have demonstrated successful outcomes for families at risk of disruption, as well as those striving to reunify. This includes families involved in child welfare, juvenile justice, or mental health services who can derive support from these interventions.

Page References:

  1. Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2018). Frequently Asked Questions: Supporting & Preserving Families. Frequently Asked Questions: Supporting & Preserving Families – Child Welfare Information Gateway.