Russell House Publishing
Family support is seen as a practice in search of a definition. What the editors of this useful book do is to provide such a definition and then go on to explore the practicalities. The book draws solely on English experience and chapters are largely associated with practice in Yorkshire, where the editors work.
The first section provides a theoretical framework for family support work, teasing out the complexitities of family structures, the role of the voluntary sector, government initiatives such as Sure Start and the Children’s Fund, and the strengths and weaknesses of family support, as provided by councils. One absence from the book is how economic and fiscal policies have also helped or hindered family support.
In the second half, a series of useful case studies look at family support alongside drug and alcohol abuse, single parent families, work with women from Asian and African communities and parenting within the juvenile justice system.
A chapter on undertaking assessments draws on the Department of Health’s assessment framework and is particularly useful in its holistic view of child welfare. This is a valuable source book and useful for those interested in both practice and definitions.
Chris Hanvey is UK director of operations, Barnardo’s.