The Role of Community in Family Support Services

Family support services are crucial for the wellbeing of families, particularly those facing challenges. The community plays an integral role in these services, offering resources and assistance to enhance family resilience and capacity. This article discusses the importance of community in family support services.

Strengthening Families: How Community Engagement Powers Support Services

The Community's Role

Community support services are instrumental in providing the necessary care for various demographic groups, including the elderly[3]. They serve as a primary social support system during times of illness and other crises. The community also acts as a bridge that links the elderly with their relatives, providing a sense of belonging[4].

Family self-help groups, a community-based innovation, have emerged as a significant component of family support[2]. These groups offer a platform where families can share experiences, exchange ideas, and provide mutual support. Such groups often alleviate the burden on individual family members and cultivate a sense of community.

Community support systems also extend to psychosocial rehabilitation, offering recreational activities that foster shared interests and mutual support[3]. These activities not only provide relief but also contribute to the overall wellbeing of individuals and families involved.

Impact on Service Utilization 

The community's role in family support services extends beyond direct support. It significantly impacts service utilization[5]. For instance, community organizations can influence a parent's willingness to utilize parenting support services. This implies that a well-informed and supportive community can encourage the use of available services, leading to better child-rearing practices and outcomes.

Moreover, the presence of visual impairment in elderly persons has been shown to influence the use of community support services[6]. A community that is aware of the unique needs and challenges of visually impaired individuals will be more likely to facilitate the necessary support.

Addressing Racism and Promoting Inclusivity

The community also has a significant role in addressing racism and promoting inclusivity within family support services. For instance, social service providers are an integral part of the LGBTQ community of Toronto, where they help expose racial integration myths and encourage the creation of needed support services[7].

Community Resources and Education Support Services

Communities can restructure education support services and integrate resources, going beyond the full-service school model[8]. By doing so, they can ensure that auxiliary or support services remain available amidst budget cuts. This not only benefits the students but also their families, providing a comprehensive support system that extends beyond the classroom.

Support for Mental Health

Community support also has a significant impact on mental health. A study on African American adolescents revealed that family, peer, and community support played a crucial role in mitigating suicidality and depression[9]. By fostering positive social forces, communities can significantly contribute to the mental wellbeing of their members.

Family Caregivers' Experiences

Family caregivers often rely on community services to assist with their duties[10]. The experiences of these caregivers highlight both the benefits and barriers of using community services. Understanding these experiences can help communities better tailor their services to meet the needs of family caregivers.


In conclusion, the community plays a pivotal role in family support services. From facilitating service utilization to addressing racism, communities can significantly influence the availability and effectiveness of family support services. By understanding and harnessing the power of community, we can better provide for families in need and create more resilient societies.


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