Parenting support services are typically provided by social and community paraprofessionals. They focus on the individual needs of a child or family, in order to address and overcome issues which may lead to family separation or harm to the child. Such services should be provided within the context of case planning, beginning with an assessment of the child and family situation. By assessing the need first, an appropriate set of services can be offered, such as day care provision, parenting support, household economic strengthening, or psychosocial referral.
Day care services are particularly important for caretakers who are overwhelmed as a result of ill health, cannot provide adaquate care because they need to work, or who are isolated within the community. It provides an excellent opportunity for children to socialise with others, and can offer additional protection and education.
Parenting support provides caretakers with an opportunity to talk about their difficulties, and learn additional techniques for meeting their child’s developmental and relationship needs. It can enable caretakers to cope with behavioural problems, and address abusive parenting techniques, thereby reducing the need for family separation and improving the incidence of successful family reunification.
The literature in this section contains information on family support programmes for vulnerable children, including day care and parenting support.