Promoting children’s welfare through Family Support

Authored by: Carmel Devaney

The Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138942752
eBook ISBN: 9781315672960
Adobe ISBN: 9781317374749


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Although our understanding of children and childhood has been reconstructed, and it is now accepted that childhood is a distinct and important phase in human development, children remain dependent on adults to secure their needs and promote their welfare. A key factor in the development of children is their experience of being parented and their experience of family. The social and emotional needs of children are supported by a positive parent–child relationship and within the family environment (Chan & Koo, 2011). Expanding on this point, Connolly (2004) suggests that good outcomes for children are achieved through positive parenting, a stable environment, a healthy family life, strong family and kin relationships, community involvement and supportive networks (p. 1). Formal Family Support is a specific orientation within child welfare services that aims to respond to the welfare needs of children in circumstances where such conditions are not present. Research indicates that the main influences on a child’s development include parenting style, the parent–child relationship and their home environment (Chan & Koo, 2011). Family Support is well placed to work in a focused manner to address all three identified areas. This chapter explores the potential of Family Support to respond to issues negatively impacting on children’s welfare, with specific attention paid to the parent–child relationship and to the experience of family life.

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