chapter  5
Family support and the journey to empowerment
ByChris Warren
Pages 22

Family support practice means promoting social support networks for children and their families within a range of formal and informal organisations. There is a growing acknowledgement that lack of social support networks increases risk (Camasso and Camasso 1986), and that the promotion of social supports enhances opportunity for citizenship, which is to say opportunities to participate reasonably, to play accepted social roles and to take responsibility (Cochran 1985; Kagan et al. 1987). An evaluation of family support practice in the voluntary child welfare sector (DoH 1992-5) has identified a practice which resembles empowerment practice. In this chapter I attempt a focused account of empowerment practice in which I want to emphasise what I call the empowerment journey, and I report on a small study that brings to life some challenges for practitioners. I shall start with two examples of the empowerment journey, one personal (a fictional account constructed from experiences of young people), the other structural.