More frequently now family service agencies are establishing district or outpost offices to make service more geographically accessible.
6. Special projects have been developed by supportive service agencies to help families with particular needs. The Community Service Society of New York City has a Single Parent Family Project. Recognizing the special situation of single parents, the project conducts weekly discussion groups and a year-round calendar of parent and child outings and events, the costs of which are subsidized by the agency. Other agencies provide a hot-line service for single parents who feel a need to talk to someone about some crisis in their relationship with their children.
7. There has been a trend toward allowing greater choice of agency service through "purchase of care." Public agencies in need of counseling for their clients might arrange to purchase such service from a family service agency or a child guidance clinic. The client might then be permitted to select the agency of his choice, and the public welfare agency, having negotiated a contract with the voluntary agency, would pay for the needed service ( Winogrand, 1970; Vorwaller , 1972; Manser, 1972).
In 1976 three quarters of the Family Service Association of America member agencies had purchase-of-service contracts with a public agency, generally involving Title XX funds.
8. The growing concern with the numbers of children in foster homes and institutions has resulted in a recent intensified interest in services to children in their own homes ( Maybanks, Bryce, 1979). A variety of experimental programs have been developed in an effort to maintain children in their own homes and reduce the risk of substitute care placements. These will be discussed more fully in Chapter 8.
The first line of defense in meeting child welfare problems is the supportive service. The family service agencies and child guidance clinics are available to support, strengthen, and reinforce the family in dealing with conflicts in the parent-child relationship network. In offering such help, supportive services remain outside the family social system.
Family service agencies have their origin in the charity organizations that sought to make charity more scientific and effective. Child guidance clinics have their origin in attempts to deal with juvenile delinquency. Family service agencies come to child welfare through treatment of the parent; the child guidance clinics have always been concerned directly with the child.
Both child guidance clinics and family service agencies are unevenly distributed throughout the country and serve a relatively small percentage of the population. It is estimated that all the child guidance clinics and family service agencies in the nation do not serve more than a half million children a year.
Workers in both agencies seek to create a therapeutic relationship with the parent and/or the child. The relationship is used as a source of influence, a source of identification, and the basis for a corrective emotional experience.