Family support services are community-based services that assist and support parents in their role as caregivers. Such services can take many different forms depending on the strengths and needs of the family, but their overarching goal is to help parents enhance skills and resolve problems to promote optimal child development. All families can benefit from support in some way; the principles of family support should be incorporated into casework across the child welfare service continuum.
Family support programs may address the general population or target particular groups such as ethnic and cultural minorities; adolescent parents; kinship caregivers; or families facing health, mental health, or substance abuse issues. They can be comprehensive or focus on a specific goal. The resources in this section address broad family support approaches and services for certain groups. The box to the right lists other areas of the Information Gateway website that address a range of supportive services for families.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
Informs parents, providers, researchers, and policymakers about relevant child care issues such as abuse and neglect, child development, choosing and paying for child care, operating a child care business, and more.
AIDD Program and Project Contacts
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Presents a map of programs nationwide that provide comprehensive services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
'It's OK to Need Support': A Parent-to-Parent Guide to Family Support Services (PDF - 2,150 KB)
Rise Magazine (2010)
Offers real families' stories of their experiences receiving family support services. The stories address parenting, education, fatherhood, substance abuse and recovery, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.
Just In Time Parenting
Cooperative Extension System
Provides research-based information to families in factsheets and newsletters and connects parents to age-appropriate resources and expert advice.