ChildLinks Issue 2: Family Support Services

Barnardos. (1995). ChildLinks Issue 2: Family Support Services.
Over the next two years the focus of those working with children and their families is likely to be concentrated on the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991. The provisions of the Act, and attendant regulations, covers the broad spectrum of preventative work with children and families, identification of children who may be at risk, validation where abuse is suspected, the provision of appropriate care for children or young people who are out of home and aftercare for young people who are leaving the care system. All of these activities are underpinned by principle that it is generally in the best interests of children to be reared in their families of origin and the long-term effects of separation for children and young people from their families of origin within the ‘care’ system are well documented. Models of preventative work with children and families need to be developed and resourced in each Health Board area if the principle of the family as the primary carer of children is to honoured. Family resource centres are one vehicle through which preventative work can be undertaken. The work of such centres should be characterised by a shared sense of purpose, a link between formal and informal support services and an active partnership with parents and communities. Three main models of family resource centres have been developed, that is, the client focused model, the neighbourhood model and the community development model. The implementation of the Child Care Act with new legal provisions like the Supervision Order will increase the need for clarity of purpose in Family Resources Centres to be defined. An impact study focusing on the outcomes for children, families and communities who use Family Resource Centres, if | : undertaken, would aid future planning and the most effective use of resources. The preventative work needs to be clearly defined and evaluated if it’s true significance and worth 1: to recognised and resourced by our policy makers.