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IFB Project

Intensive Family Preservation Programme for Children in Dysfunctional Families

The Centre has been undertaking a Family Support services project (Intensive Family services project) in Madurai city since 1991 under the aegis of OZ child-Children Australia Inc, Australia to work with various types of dysfunctional families including families of ‘children on the streets’ and working children. The centre believes in the principle “Helping the family is helping the child”. When the family is vulnerable, the child is vulnerable. When a family is dysfunctional, a support to build and strengthen it reduces the vulnerability and therefore of the child.

The project aims at adopting a holistic care approach to the children and their families, which would ensure family strengthening and building which would prevent children to be at imminent risk. A survey conducted by the Centre has revealed the fact that of 361 dysfunctional families covered under the project during the period 1991-1997, a sizeable section (34.90%) of the families fell under the type ‘female headed families’, whereas a lower proportion of them (5.54%) were classified as ‘families likely to disintegrate’. Families of street children and working children accounted for 17.18%. It was found that 24.95% of the ‘stressed families’ had both father and mother alive. Sadly enough, 6.37% of the families got disintegrated owing to marital discord. In point of fact, the causes of family dysfunctions in the client population are manifold. An analysis of the causes has revealed the fact that lack of means of livelihood, marital disagreement, financial difficulties, death of spouse, problem of ill health of spouse (husband), alcoholic behaviour of husband, domestic violence (wife/husband battering), lack of understanding of family values, shirking of family responsibility by the husband, and neurotic/psychotic behaviour of spouse have resulted in families becoming ‘dysfunctional’. Our centre has been providing family support services focussing on children, youth and family as a whole namely a) children centred services and family focused services. Since 1991, 18292 families have received family support services, of which 7431 families belong to Scheduled Castes(socially oppressed communities,179 families belong to tribal communities,8431 hail from socially and economically backward caste groups, and 1457 are considered as ‘Most backward/Denotified tribal caste groups’. The rest (794 families) belong to upper caste groups. As regards children in dysfunctional families, 3529 of them have been provided with child centred services by our centre.

The project aims at adopting a holistic care approach to the children and their families, which would ensure family strengthening and building which would prevent children to be at imminent risk. A survey conducted by the Centre has revealed the fact that of 361 dysfunctional families covered under the project during the period 1991-1997, a sizeable section (34.90%) of the families fell under the type ‘female headed families’, whereas a lower proportion of them (5.54%) were classified as ‘families likely to disintegrate’.

Families of street children and working children accounted for 17.18%. It was found that 24.95% of the ‘stressed families’ had both father and mother alive. Sadly enough, 6.37% of the families got disintegrated owing to marital discord. In point of fact, the causes of family dysfunctions in the client population are manifold. An analysis of the causes has revealed the fact that lack of means of livelihood, marital disagreement, financial difficulties, death of spouse, problem of ill health of spouse (husband), alcoholic behaviour of husband, domestic violence (wife/husband battering), lack of understanding of family values, shirking of family responsibility by the husband, and neurotic/psychotic behaviour of spouse have resulted in families becoming ‘dysfunctional’. Our centre has been providing family support services focussing on children, youth and family as a whole namely a) children centred services and family focused services. Since 1991, 18292 families have received family support services, of which 7431 families belong to Scheduled Castes(socially oppressed communities,179 families belong to tribal communities,8431 hail from socially and economically backward caste groups, and 1457 are considered as ‘Most backward/Denotified tribal caste groups’. The rest (794 families) belong to upper caste groups. As regards children in dysfunctional families, 3529 of them have been provided with child centred services by our centre.

Family support services have a special contribution to make in meeting the needs of families and the children. They prove to be highly beneficial to the families and the children on the streets for as much as they are a. comprehensive b. integrated c. flexible d. combine practical assistance and therapeutic counselling e. involved with the family long enough to ensure change is sustained f. grass roots organisations g. based on a model that recognises and builds on strengths and h. preventive.

While the family support services are comprehensive in nature, and continue to maintain a family focus, specialised initiatives are made to provide care and protection of the children in the families with a preventive and rehabilitative perspective. The families are enabled to access appropriate practical assistance as well as therapeutic interventions.

Programme methodology :

The centre adopts a case management approach, which includes six components namely :

  • Case identification
  • Assessment and Planning
  • Co-ordination
  • Implementation of services
  • Monitoring, evaluation and reassessment and Termination.(Based on Karen Orloff Kaplan model, USA, 1990).

Types of Family support services :

The following family support services are offered to the children on the streets and their families :

  • Educational support
  • Sponsorship and school and home placement
  • Childhood enrichment programs
  • Crisis intervention & Counselling services
  • Parent Education & Support Services
  • Resourcing and Advocacy
  • Health promotion programs
  • Micro financial assistance to select families
  • Job search and placement
  • Material assistance to families
  • Harm minimization program for alcohol/substance abusing parents
  • Networking with local support systems