The term “family support program” describes both an innovative model and an approach to service delivery that focuses on supporting the complex needs of families with young children in a number of ways. 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. Family support programs are driven by the community and flexibly 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. Programs are typically offered at no cost to participants and may include: drop-in programs for children and their caregiver, parenting workshops, referrals to other services, and lending libraries.  With the onset of the global pandemic, COVID-19 programs are now offering virtual programming to support families and children.

Related links:

Guiding Principles of Family Support by Families Canada

Hear what families tell us about family support programs in a video by Families Canada.