Community and Family Studies – Support Networks Essay

Explain the different between formal and informal support networks available to families. (5 MARKS) Support Networks provide assistance for individuals, families and community groups. These can be either formal or informal. Individuals, families and groups rely on themselves, each other and their community to meet their needs and wants. Formal Support Networks provide individuals and/or families with a particular service or support that they are in need of. These organisations can be found outside the family unit and are managed and operate by governments, private businesses or charities.

The government offers pensions, allowances and payments through Centrelink. All of these payments and allowances offer ? nancial support to assist families to purchase food, shelter and clothing. Common examples of formal support networks would include childcare facilities, recreational and sporting facilities, community centres, schools, charities and disability services. The need for formal support networks may differ as some families will have a greater need for a speci? c type of support at only a certain point in the family life cycle, e. g. hen they are starting a family. Formal groups often as well have a set purpose. i. e. Schools educate and workplaces have jobs to be done. Informal support networks are not structured and provide individuals with assistance through their family and friend-based interaction and networks. They provide different but important things. So these connections are very valuable as they reduce and relieve the stress on formal support systems. They promote the community to be more active and functioning in terms of being more involved. As well as offering emotional support.

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Informal groups help keep the people in a community in good social health and well being. This type of network is mostly for emotional support from friends, family and neighbours in the community. For example; Granparents could be called upon to assist with childcare or a family member may be asked to complete some maintenance tasks in another member’s home. Or, neighbours could offer to do some garden maintenance or childcare. Both informal and formal support systems may vary across communities. However, access to such support networks can be vital to a families survival or satisfaction of needs. . Evaluate the support networks available to assist Karen in meeting her requirements. (15 MARKS) Karen is a single mother with two children under the age of 3 and so she has to work full time to support the needs of her family. Being a single mother, this doesn’t necessarily mean that she has to do this all on her own. She can ask for the ? nancial support of either her family or a formal support group such as Centrelink. Because Karen is a a full time worker, this could mean she has multiple jobs or one job and working straight hours.

This on top of being a single mother and juggling two children, Karen can always ask the assistance of other charities or support networks in her local community. Centrelink is one main example where she can be offered different options and Centrelink is also connected to the Department of Human Services. If Karen is ? nding too much time on her hands and she feels as though she can’t physically bring herself to go to these places, online services are available to her, it’s just a matter of signing up and registering. Centrelink is not necessarily free however.

They offer an allowance to those with speci? c needs as a loan in order to get the customer started. In this case, in order to help Karen support her family they will offer her a speci? c price range and when she is ready to pay them back, she will have to do so. There are also many other support networks that will help Karen to support her family and ? t the needs of her children. Many of these formal support systems can be found on the Australian Government: Department of Human Services website (http:// www. humanservices. gov. au/).

For example, a link for a family centre would lead her to the Tresillian Family Care Centre webpage (http://www. tresillian. net/), it’s just all a matter of locating the closest centre and enquiring for an application. Many child care facilities and centres seem to be running today and most of these offer an all day service. However, as a full time working and single mother, Karen might want to also see what her family can do for her. It would be quite sensible of her to seek emotional and recreational support from her friends, family and even neighbours.

If they are willing, her family may also be able to help out ? nancially. If not, there are some non-pro? t organisations that are centered around offering service to those in need. Such as the Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul’s. The Salvation Army has an easy to reach care line on their website as well as additional information. They offer many services such as ? nancial to child care and support. For some of the child care and support services they don’t need to be paid for as well as offering a large variety of support for the children.

St Vincent De Paul’s are especially helpful in lending a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Being mostly centered around donations, they can offer a range of donations to Karen and her family to suit their needs and wants. e. g. Toys for her children to play with, clothes and even food. Depending on her budgeting techniques, whether she is struggling or not ? nancially, they do also offer a budget counselling service for ways to improve her budgeting strategies. This is also in order to assist in Karen and her family getting back on track becoming less dependent on the welfare assistance.

There is a wide range of either formal and informal support networks for Karen to enquire about, some free and some in her budget. All of which support networks can be trusted and are 100% quali? ed to aid in her family struggles and to give Karen and her children the best they deserve. And because Karen is such a hard worker to do the best she can for her children, these support networks may be able to lift some of the weight off her shoulders and then eventually help her back on her feet.