Reflections on the value of a supportive ‘village’ culture for parents, carers, and families: Findings from a community survey
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In communities where members actively engage with others, perceive their neighbourhood to be safe, and have a positive sense of belonging, children's safety, health, and wellbeing are enhanced. However, over the last few decades, there have been extensive socioeconomic and demographic changes in Australia, which have eroded family and neighbourhood support networks. .We surveyed local residents about whether they viewed their community as a supportive environment, with a 'village' culture, that is, a place where they had developed positive personal networks. Fifty eight parents and carers from three early childhood and education centres identified their observations, perceptions, and experiences about the community environment in which they were raising their children. The community was generally described as a good place to raise children by most residents, but for a small proportion, exclusion and stress were problematic. This small group had limited opportunity or capacity to engage in the community. Informal connections were the most common source of support, but up to 40 percent of the parents were not always able to access supports. Formal services were underutilised, particularly given the level of stress and isolation in the community. In this paper, the authors suggest measures to help communities and family support services to better understand community cohesion and access meaningful support.
Journal of Social Inclusion
© The Author(s) 2014. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Australia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 AU) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/au/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.
Social Work not elsewhere classified