4514. Family Support Networks

Service Definition

Each individual family's extended family, tribe, friends, and other lay or professional helpers who help resolve current issues of concern constitute a support network. Informal support networks reduce social isolation that may contribute to CA/N and may provide the resources to assist in reduction of family conflict. Supportive networks may be more helpful than professional services because they are generally a life-long part of the client's life.


All DCFS clients are eligible for the service.

Procedures for Access

  1. The social worker uses "reasonable efforts" in locating and contacting extended family members, friends, and lay helpers for potential support and/or placement resources.
  2. The social worker is encouraged to develop informal family support network alternatives to professionally provided services when possible.
  3. The social worker provides the family support network consistent information and support, within the limits of laws on confidentiality.

Other Sources

  1. The RSN, DDD, and local schools may have projects in some communities to facilitate the development/maintenance of family support networks. The social worker is encouraged to explore those systems for help in coordinating a family support network.
  2. Participation in an organization that has culturally-specific ties may reduce isolation for some individuals.
  3. Families may have support available to them through their church. Churches support many social service and recreational programs.
  4. Special interest support groups, including support groups for parents who have experienced a SIDS death or parents with developmentally disabled or medically fragile children, can be helpful and supportive to parents.
  5. Recreational activities can be especially valuable to families needing support. Many non-profit recreational organizations provide scholarships or reduced tuition.