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The Value of Family Support

The Family Support Movement emerged in the 1970s, and is predicated upon the notion that a child's family, community, and environment are integral to children's health, development, and well-being. Family Support emphasizes the promotion of family well-being. The model asserts that assisting families prevents problems, is cost-effective and that promoting the well-being of families is an inherent responsibility of a democracy.

The Family Support approach is founded on these basic assumptions:
• The most effective approach to families emanates from a perspective of health and well-being.
• Child-rearing techniques and values are influenced by cultural and community values and mores.
• The capacity of parents to raise their children effectively is influenced by their own development.
• Social support networks are essential to family well-being.
• Information about child development enhances parents' capacity to respond appropriately to their children.
• Families that receive support become empowered to advocate on their own behalf.

The following principles provide the foundational underpinning for family support work:

1. Staff and families work together in relationships based on equality and respect.
2. Staff enhances families' capacity to support the growth and development of all family members - adults, youth, and children.
3. Families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs, and to communities.
4. Programs affirm and strengthen families' cultural, racial, and linguistic identities and enhance their ability to function in a multicultural society.
5. Programs are embedded in their communities and contribute to the community-building process.
6. Programs advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive, and accountable to the families served.
7. Practitioners work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.
8. Programs are flexible and continually responsive to emerging family and community issues.
9. Principles of family support are modeled in all program activities, including planning, governance, and administration.

The work of Friends of the Family rests firmly on the family support foundation as we design our programming to reach all generations of a family and help each one thrive and contribute.


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