Families First is intended for families with children aged between 0-18 years, in an acute crisis situation that is so bad that the family is at risk of one or more children being placed in care. In the event of an acute crisis, the balance between capacity and burden is disrupted, meaning that the family is subject to increasing levels of unmanageable tension and may ‘implode’ (see Bartelink et al., 2013). It may be that there is externalized problem behaviour on the part of the child, an ineffective parenting environment, inadequate parenting skills, physical abuse, pedagogical and affective neglect. This often takes place in combination with an impactful event (a death, a crime, etc.) Parents often may have their own, psychiatric problems and/ or socio-economic problems.
The objective of Families First is to resolve the current crisis and to increase the safety of the family, ultimately to prevent one or more children being placed in care. This is achieved via the following five sub-objectives: 1) A reduction in the children’s behavioural problems; 2) An increase in the competencies of family members; 3) A reduction in the parenting burden for the parents; 4) An improvement in the parenting skills of the parents and 5) Family members making more use of their social network. (more…)