The Gerrard Resource Centre made a defining contribution in all of our lives. We were new to Toronto and had a very small network of people when we started our family. The Gerrard Resource Centre helped us not only focus on developing the social skills of our two children, but also connect us to a larger community.
-Laura S., participant in a family resource program
The term “family support program” describes both an innovative model and an approach to service delivery that focuses on the complex needs of families with young children. Such programs empower families to enable children’s healthy growth and development by enhancing strengths and capacities in individuals, families, and communities. Family support programs provide welcoming, community- based opportunities for families to voluntarily come together and exchange support. Programs are flexible and can respond to a range of unique family needs. Professionals partner with families and collaborate with local organizations. Programs reduce social isolation, support healthy child development and family well-being, and facilitate capacity-building and community development. Family support programs are typically offered at no cost to participants and may include: drop-in programs for children and their caregivers, parenting workshops, referrals to other services, and lending libraries. With the onset of the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 EarlyON Child and Families Centres have added online and virtual programs to their repertoire of supports for families and young children.
Hear what families tell us about family support programs in a video by FRP Canada.
Families Canada. (2002a). Guiding principles of family support. Retrieved from https://familiescanada.ca/article/guiding-principles-of-family-support/
Kyle, I. & Kellerman, M. (1998). Background: Setting the context. In I. Kyle & M. Kellerman (Eds.), Case studies of Canadian family resource programs: Supporting families, children and communities (pp. 21-28). Ottawa: FRP Canada.
Smythe, S. (2004). Understanding family resource programs. Perspectives in family support, 1, 5-14. Weissbourd, B. (1994.) The evolution of the family resource movement. In B. Weissbourd & S. L. Kagan
(Eds.), Putting families first: America’s family support movement and the challenge of change, (pp. 28-47). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.