Family Support services include universal services that all families have access to including health care, education, parent and toddler groups, library and leisure facilities. Some families may need family support services to help them deal with additional challenges which may stem from economic difficulties, or other circumstances such as, bereavement, relationship breakdown, ill health, substance abuse, domestic violence, disability, behavioural and emotional difficulties within the family.
The Family Support category includes a whole range of services including universal services, early intervention and targeted interventions. Services listed here include Family Support Hubs, Family Intervention Teams, Integrated Services for Families, Home-Start etc.
A Family Support Hub is a multi-agency network of statutory, community and voluntary organisations that provide early intervention services, or work with families who need support.
The network accepts referrals and uses their knowledge of local service providers to signpost families with specific needs to an appropriate service.
The specific purpose of hubs is as follows:
• To improve access to early intervention family support services by matching the needs of referred families to family support providers
• To improve co-ordination of early intervention family support services by creating a collaborative network of community, voluntary and statutory providers
• To improve awareness of early intervention family support services
• To assess the level of unmet need for early intervention family support services and inform the Trust Outcomes Group
There are currently 29 Family Support Hubs in operation covering all of Northern Ireland. Hubs co-ordinate existing statutory/community and voluntary services.
Some hubs have attached services but this is separate from the hub function which is about co-ordination.
Input 'Family Support Hub' at Keyword Search above and input your full postcode to find your nearest Hub (or check the link below for a list);
SureStart programmes support parents with children aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland.
The programmes can help a parent from pregnancy until their child starts school.
With SureStart's ongoing support, a child can do well at school and flourish at home.
Criteria for Sure Start;
Your Postcode will determine whether you will qualify for SureStart services. Places are allocated to areas which are within the top 25% of deprived wards within Northern Ireland.
You should contact your nearest SureStart to check whether you are eligible.
You will also find your nearest SureStart service by using the search facility above (selecting Family Support services, SureStart category and inputting your postcode).
Child Contact Centres provide a safe, neutral and child-centred environment in which children of separated families can spend quality time with the parent they no longer live with. The Centres are seen as a temporary arrangement when there is no viable meeting place for these families.
Home-Start visits families in their own homes by offering support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children
There is also information on various other types of Family Support which have been listed in separate categories on the website, including support for Adoption, Fostering and Looked After Children, Bereavement Advice & Counselling, Support for Carers, Support for Disabled Children and their families, Family Mediation and various other types of Family Support services.
Libraries NI have many activities like Rhythm & Rhyme or Jo Jingles for young children. You should contact your local branch to find out about what is happening in your area.