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Unit information: Family Support in 2020/21

Unit name Family Support
Unit code SOWK20002
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Symonds
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit is concerned with the difficulties and stresses that families can experience and the kinds of support available for parents, carers and children which promote children’s development. The legal and policy framework for family support is examined. Examples of targeted provisions for children and families are considered and the impact of Government initiatives such as Sure Start and children’s centres explored in depth. Issues that impact on children’s wellbeing and development, such as child abuse, experience of domestic violence, poverty, disability and discrimination are studied. A visit to a chosen Family Support Agency is an important part of the unit.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of studying this unit students should be able to:

  • Understand family support services
  • Link knowledge and research and practice in agencies
  • Develop group study and presentation skills
  • Have experience of one family support agency

Teaching details

The unit will covering different topic related to Family Support each week. Each week will contain a combination of online activities on Blackboard including narrated presentations, reading and discussions, followed by a synchronous activity using, for example, Collaborate. If circumstances allow, the unit includes a visit to an agency in small groups, linked to the first assessment. If circumstances do not allow, the visit will be replaced by online interviews and information gathered from websites and other information.

Assessment Details

Individual presentation (25%)

Essay (2000 words) (75%)

Reading and References

  • Dolan, P., Canavan, J. &Pinkerton, J. (2006) Family Support as Reflective Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Fawcett, B., Featherstoke, B. and Goddard, J (2004) Contemporary Childcare Policy and Practice. London and New York: Palgrave.
  • Frost, N., Abbott, S. and Race, T. (2015) Family Support. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Miller, S. (2010) Supporting Parents: Improving outcomes for children, families and communities. Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Quinton, D. (2004) Supporting Parents: Messages from Research. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Shannon, M. (2019) Family Support for Social Care Practitioners. London: Red Globe Press.