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About this book

This timely textbook provides an introduction, overview and critical analysis of practice and services in relation to current policy developments. With a focus on working with service users across the life course, multi-agency working, and relational and strengths based approaches, it provides a concise exploration of practice guidance, theory, and the legislative context of supporting families.

Table of Contents

Overview & Context

1. Introduction

Abstract
Family Support as a practice and theoretical orientation has evolved into a robust set of ideas, with its key applications explored by a number of leading writers and recent texts in the field. The aim of this book is an attempt to cover areas of practical skill and underpinning knowledge that can be useful to a range of relevant practitioners and students. The core theme is that family support in itself is of value for a range of practitioners and services. Although subject to policy shifts, it has carved out some clear foundations in theory and practice. Whilst it cannot be seen as a panacea and is subject to the agendas of government, it has potential to be applied across the spectrum of services. At a time when policy in areas such as early intervention, prevention and support are widespread but also facing uncertainty, there are debates that are useful to reflect on. Some of the current tensions centre around support versus intervention, the shift in focus away from wider environmental factors to individual responsibility, and the move from universal to more targeted provision in the general welfare context.
Mary Shannon

2. Setting the Context : A Historical and Policy Perspective

Abstract
In setting out the overall context of family support, this chapter will firstly provide a brief history of the philanthropic roots of family support, through to recent decades where its key place in provision will be outlined. Linking this to policy, the aim is to explore how the practices and ideas of family support have both persisted and evolved.
Mary Shannon

3. Theoretical Underpinnings

Abstract
This chapter maps out the solid basis of family support approaches, in terms of being rooted in clear ideas: family support practice is underpinned by a set of related theoretical concepts (Canavan et al., 2016). It has been noted that: ‘ … as a diverse and difficult-to-define concept covering a range of practices, it is unsurprising that family support is underpinned by a number of theoretical approaches’ (Frost and Dolan, 2012: 40).
Mary Shannon

Practice And Service Users

Frontmatter

4. Family Support Practice with children and families

Abstract
Although family support in the children’s arena often has a lower profile than child protection work, it will be outlined as crucial area of work with children and it is often the largest part of practice undertaken in the sector. In taking a holistic and multidisciplinary perspective, some of the tensions in balancing support for families and children with protection will be explored as key themes. The issues of early intervention and prevention form the policy backdrop to this area and these ideas have framed recent debates and discussions. This chapter will also provide an overview of some specific areas from a family support perspective.
Mary Shannon

5. Family Support Practice and Adult Services

Abstract
Family support principles applied to adults have been woven through the book in considering how they impact on individuals and families generally. In relation to specific services for adults, some different areas will be outlined, with a focus on how supportive interventions and approaches are relevant. Analysing the underpinning ethos and practice with vulnerable adults highlights some of the issues here and provides the potential for applicability to other service areas.
Mary Shannon

Working with Diversity and Inter-Professional Issues

Frontmatter

6. Working with Diversity

Abstract
In this chapter, key issues and practice links will be explored in relation to diversity. The importance of this area in terms of understanding and engaging with service users from a variety of backgrounds is the focus. There are issues that face those who are refugees/asylum seekers or particular communities and these will be explored in the current policy and practice framework. Some of the complex adult and child safeguarding issues that have recently been in the spotlight will be examined.
Mary Shannon

7. Multi-agency Working and Family Support

Abstract
Collaborative working is a practice imperative in all areas of service provision and it is an essential component of family support practice. Some of the policy context, theoretical background and models of multi-agency working will be explored in terms of how they relate to family support. Partnership and collaboration with children, young people and families is at the heart of family support principles and it is this approach that is of key interest here.
Mary Shannon

Examining Current Issues and Looking Forward

Frontmatter

8. Contemporary Approches

Abstract
At the forefront of contemporary practice in the social care field are a number of approaches that share the principles of family support and draw on the use of a strengths-based orientation and empowerment. Some models that have gained recent currency are not necessarily new ideas but are being implemented in the current practice context.
Mary Shannon

9. Conclusion – Current Themes and the Future for Family Support Approaches

Abstract
This concluding chapter is an opportunity to draw together some of the dominant current themes in the family support arena. Many of the issues discussed in previous chapters will be summarised in the current policy and practice context. A reflection on the future prospects for the continued development of family support as an emerging discipline and an area of working, and the possibilities and challenges of future directions, is presented.
Mary Shannon
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