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7 OCTOBER 2009

NO 1497

Family support

At this point in time, Family Support now occupies a significant place within the array of care and welfare interventions throughout the western world. As Connolly (2004) points out, many countries are exploring how the dual mandate of child welfare child protection and family support can be accommodated within an integrated family-centred response. Yet, while increasing in popularity, family support is under-conceptualised, with many practitioners continuing to work without a common view as to its meaning (Dolan, 2006). The following set of 10 practice principles were developed by Dolan, Canavan, and Pinkerton (2006) to further common understanding of family support.

While the formulation of such practice principles are important, Canavan (2006) argues that developing family support further and ensuring its place within the global operation of child welfare (and other human services) will require sustained intellectual work, wherein the collective actions of front-line workers, operational managers, policy-makers and researchers are brought together, in a coherent fashion, to reflect on and further develop the meaning of such principles in practice. For this to happen, there is a need for all of us working in the broad field of family support to engage in an ongoing process of reflection and analysis in relation to our work, attempting to bridge the gap between theory and practice (Parton, 1997).

In essence, it is the combined application of theory (know of), skills (know how) and reflective practice (know to) that constitutes a practitioner's response to the unmet need of a child. This requires more than just basic professional training for staff but implies building their capacity over time to become interactive with their practice at a very deep and meaningful level based exclusively on the task of meeting need. 

PAT DOLAN, JOHN CANAVAN AND BERNADINE BRADY

Dolan, P.; Canavan, J. and Brady, B. (2006). Connecting with practice in the changing landscape of family support training. Child Care in Practice, 12, 1. pp. 44-45.
 

REFERENCES

Canavan, J. (2006). Reflecting for action: The future of family support. In P. Dolan, J. Canavan, & J. Pinkerton (Eds.), Family support as reflective practice (chapter 18). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Connolly, M. (2004). Child and family welfare: Statutory responses to children at risk. Christchurch: Te Awatea Press.

Dolan, P. (2006). Assessment, intervention and self appraisal tools for family support. In P. Dolan, J. Canavan, & J. Pinkerton (Eds.), Family support as reflective practice (chapter 13). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Dolan, P., Canavan, J., & Pinkerton, J. (Eds.). (2006). Family support as reflective practice. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Parton, N. (1997). Child protection and family support: Current debates and future prospects. In N. Parton (Ed.), Child protection and family support: Tensions, contradictions and possibilities (pp. 1-24). London, UK: Routledge.

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