Family Support Principles and Premises

Premises of Family Support Programs

  • Primary responsibility for the development and well-being of children lies within the family, and all segments of society must support families as they rear their children.
  • Assuring the well-being of all families is the cornerstone of a healthy society and requires universal access to support programs and services.
  • Children and families exist as part of an ecological system.
  • Child-rearing patterns are influenced by parents’ understandings of child development and of their children’s unique characteristics, personal sense of competence, and cultural and community traditions and mores.
  • Enabling families to build on their own strengths and capacities promotes the healthy development of children.
  • The developmental processes that make up parenthood and family life create needs that are unique at each stage in the life span.
  • Families are empowered when they have access to information and other resources and take action to improve the well-being of children, families and communities.

Principles of Family Support Practice

  • Staff and families work together in relationships based on equality and respect.
  • Staff enhance families’ capacity to support the growth and development of all family members — adults, youth and children.
  • Families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs, and to communities.
  • Policies and practices affirm and strengthen families’ ethnic, racial and linguistic identities and enhance their ability to function in a multicultural society.
  • Programs are embedded in their communities and contribute to the community-building process.
  • Programs advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive and accountable to the families served.
  • Practitioners work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.
  • Programs are flexible and continually responsive to family and community issues.
  • Principles of family support are modeled in all program activities, including planning, governance and administration.