Family Support/Parent Education: Aboutdad and baby

Family support, defined as “a set of beliefs and an approach to strengthening and empowering families and communities so that they can foster the optimal development of children, youth, and adult family members,” is effective in preventing child abuse and neglect and in reducing the stresses that contribute to child maltreatment.

Benefits of Family Support Programs

Research shows that high-quality family support programs can:

The primary responsibility for the development and well being of children lies within the family. Just as children need to be seen in the context of their families, families are best understood and supported in the context of neighborhoods and communities. To prevent child maltreatment, prevention programs need to work with caregivers and parents before negative patterns develop and produce unwanted or poor outcomes.

The most effective programs begin working with parents at the time of the birth of their first child or prenatally. Although the strategic focus should be on prevention and supporting families as early as possible in their child rearing responsibility, it is also necessary to protect this investment by supporting healthy development throughout the school age years.

It is important to focus efforts on all families and use an inclusive definition of family. A universal program designed for families who have a range of skill sets and needs potentially benefits all parents and caregivers.

The continuum of services from prenatal through high school would include programs that strengthen parenting skills and promote improved outcomes in the following areas:

Home Visiting

Home visiting is a strategy to improve:

Key home visiting program elements include:

Early outcomes associated with home visiting include:

These effects continue for maternal outcomes after an infant’s birth with: