Social Action with Children and Families: A Community Development Approach to Child and Family Welfare

By Chris Warren; Crescy Cannan | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

The role of the centre in family support

Eva Lloyd

VALUES AND OBJECTIVES OF SAVE THE CHILDREN’S CENTRE-BASED FAMILY SUPPORT

Save the Children’s centre-based family support offers part-time and fulltime day care, holiday playschemes, out-of-school, and community health services for children, and welfare rights advice, education and training for other members of their families, as well as self-help opportunities to develop a variety of groups, credit unions and food coops, and some youth work. It operates in this way from fifteen multifunctional centres located in some of the most deprived communities in the UK. These are staffed primarily by workers with a background in child care, youth and community work, and community development, run, if not managed, in partnership with centre users and funded through partnerships with a range of statutory agencies, including health, social services and education.

While Warren (1993:5) has claimed that ‘The bedeviling feature of family centres has been a lack of definition’, Save the Children centres have been well defined by Long (1995) as follows, in a discussion of their role in ameliorating family poverty:

Save the Children centres are not to be viewed within the ‘crisis oriented’ model of interventions which offer ‘therapeutic’ help to families and children in need, but are firmly based within the community development framework. They provide practical responses to locally defined need. The principles of open access, self referral and user participation are fundamental to this approach. The anti-poverty strategy which underpins this work has two themes. The services seek to provide ‘better beginnings’ for children and ‘new opportunities’ for adults.

(Long 1995:64)

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