The number of support families for children who live with various difficult circumstances needs to increase, according to the city’s child welfare department.
Any number of things, including a weak family support network or long-term illness, can mean that a child, or a whole family, needs extra assistance.
A support family welcomes a needy child in, thereby supporting and relieving the child’s parents – simultaneously giving them some rest time and also widening the child’s support network.
The Reykjavík City community service centers are in charge of providing the service and families must meet certain criteria before they can be considered as support families. The goal of the worthwhile service is to increase the quality of life of vulnerable children and their families, Reykjavík Child Protection’s Guðrún Marínósdóttir told RÚV.
“We are certainly looking at quite a few families we support in this way, and ideally we’d like to have better access to a bank of support families. We also have to bear in mind that we need to pair the support family and the child very carefully because there are so many different needs,” Guðrún says.
Various situations can lead to families being offered extra support, for example if the network of family support around a child is weak, and especially if a single parent finds him/herself needing an extra pair of hands. There are also cases when illness has meant families need help. In many other cases the child has behavioral problems which need more time and more detailed care than the family is able to provide on its own.
Prospective support families are encouraged to contact their nearest community support center in Reykjavík to find out more about the job, and what they can expect in return.