Family support centres are community-based organizations working with children, families and caregivers to enhance strengths, to build capacities and to promote healthy development. Family support centres deliver a range of services guided by principles that focus on building supportive relationships, facilitating growth, respecting diversity and furthering community development.
Known by various titles and responsive to the needs of their resident communities, they include: family resource programs, family resource centres, military family resource centres, community centres, community health centres, aboriginal friendship centres, early years centres, parent-child centres, family service societies, family places, school boards, toy libraries, and more. Their services may be provided in partnership with other groups, in many different venues, and their funding may come from unique sources, but they share the same vision.
Family support centres aim to be welcoming and inclusive. The values of mutuality, democratic participation and responsiveness to local issues are cornerstones. They are in settings such as community centres, schools, church basements, storefronts or neighbourhood houses, where parents and others in the parenting role can spend time with their young children and with each other. By enhancing the capacity and confidence of parents and caregivers, as well as providing resources for children to thrive, family support practitioners endeavour to strengthen families and communities as a whole.