Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New approaches to family supported care

A research study focused on enhancing understanding of family-focused approaches across the domains of social care, education and health.
New approaches to family supported care
Until now, academic analyses of policy and practice supporting families with multiple and complex needs have been rather fragmented. There has been little coherence in terms of the international knowledge base regarding current approaches and effective practice across social care, education and health.

The EU-funded project SUPPORTING FAMILIES (Understanding and Supporting Families with Complex Needs) aimed to change this. It addressed three themes: the theorisation of ‘family’ within family support; models and approaches in family-focused policy and practice; and effective methods for researching family-focused policy and practice.

The work was divided into an initial review of research knowledge within each partner country and then a series of case studies examining family-focused services, programmes and initiatives. Case studies employed a wide range of methods and methodologies.

The project recognised that for family services to work effectively, the complexity of family roles and functions first need to be understood. In particular, it looked at the diverse ways in which those with complex needs experience family life, and how such experiences can inform policy and practice responses.

An international comparative analysis of strengths and challenges of different models and approaches to service provision was conducted, with a particular focus on approaches that engage the broader family in meeting the needs of family members. Additionally, partner universities shared their expertise regarding how professionals are collaborating to meet family needs. The work can therefore impact policy and partner stakeholders, professional development and training, and government agencies and committees.

The project has also resulted in an international network of universities with expertise in family-minded policy, practice and research. Further information on the on-going work of this network is available from the Family Potential Research Centre.

Related information


Families with complex needs, marginalised communities, family-focused provision
Record Number: 188557 / Last updated on: 2016-09-15
Domain: Biology, Medicine