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Family support

Introduction

Family life isnít always easy, and itís not uncommon to feel angry, depressed or stressed when things go wrong. Coping with divorce, coming to terms with adoption, dealing with neglect or abuse, or living with parents who donít understand you are all examples of difficult family issues that put a lot of strain on relationships.

Family problems can often be very sensitive and emotional, and it can be hard to know what to do for the best. Itís important to remember that you are not alone Ė try talking to someone you trust. This could be a parent, close friend, social worker or teacher.

Talking to other people with similar experiences can also help. There are many support groups for parents and carers that give people the chance to tell their own stories and give support to each other.

For more serious problems, such as child abuse or domestic violence, there are specialist organisations that can help. You can talk through the problem confidentially with advisors who are trained to give support and help. In cases where a personís safety is in danger, social services or the police may need to be informed, but this will be discussed first.

Sometimes families have to separate for the health and welfare of all. This may involve children moving into a foster or care home, or the parents separating and moving to different places. Sometimes families are divided by long-term illness or disability that stops a family member living at home.

Whatever the problem, there are a range of services that offer advice and support to families. This includes social workers, youth workers, family support workers, parent and child centres, support groups, and counselling services. These types of services help families to improve and work through difficult issues, ensure children have a stable environment to live in, and provide support for parents who are finding it hard to cope.

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