The Evidence Portal

Involve family and friends

Flexible activity

In this activity, family and friends are encouraged to be involved in service delivery and to provide informal support for the family. This can support the family with childcare and household responsibilities. It can also ensure the messages parents receive from practitioners do not conflict with the messages they receive at home. 

How can it be implemented?

This activity can be built into existing home visits. In these visits, practitioners encourage other family members (e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings) and friends to provide informal support.

This could include:

  • participating in the home visits themselves 
  • helping with household responsibilities
  • providing child care
  • caring for the mother, especially first time mothers

The support that is provided will depend on the family’s needs and the capacity of their extended family and friends.

What should I consider when working with Aboriginal people and communities?

Understanding structures and concepts that exist in Aboriginal families and communities is important in building relationships. Aboriginal people have strong family values. The family system has an extended family structure, as opposed to the nuclear or immediate family structure which is common in Western society (DCJ Practice Resource: Working with Aboriginal People).

See the Cultural Safety and Wellbeing Evidence Review for further guidance on how to deliver culturally safe services and improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Who is the target group?

This activity have been implemented with:

  • Teen mothers who have been identified as at risk for dysfunctional parenting
  • First time mothers.

What programs conduct this activity?

  • The Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program strongly encouraged the involvement of family during visits to ensure the message about prevention the teenagers received from the home visitor and the clinic staff did not conflict with the messages they received at home. 
  • The Nurse Family Partnership program involved family members and friends in childcare and support of the mother. During both pregnancy and early child rearing, nurses encouraged the woman’s close friends and relatives to participate, to help with household responsibilities, to aid in the care of the child, and to reinforce the advice of the nurses in their absence.

What else should I consider?

This activity could be adapted to non-home visit programs. Family and friends could attend group sessions with parents. 

Parents must feel comfortable around and have a positive relationship with the family and friends who offer to participate and provide support.

Further resources

Last updated:

25 Nov 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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