Families at risk

What do we mean by families at risk?

When we talk about families at risk, we mean families who, for whatever reason, may find it difficult to keep their children safe. Unemployment, poverty, addiction, violence and mental health issues are major risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect. A child with disabilities, or being a young single parent, can also be stress factors that pose an increased risk for the child. Parents who have grown up in an orphanage themselves often find it difficult to form a bond with their own children and may need extra support.

What is the goal of Childhood’s work on behalf of families at risk?

The perpetrators of child abuse and violence are most often in the child’s own social circle. At the same time, a close, safe and long-lasting relationship with at least one adult reduces the risk of violence and abuse. A child who has experienced abuse is better equipped to cope with the effects when a trustworthy adult can offer support.

Childhood therefore works to ensure that as many children as possible have access to a secure and long-lasting relationship with at least one adult while growing up.

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has a right to be cared for by their parents. If separation is necessary due to the best interests of the child, the child is entitled to grow up in a family setting. Children who are separated from their parents are at greater risk of exposure to violence, exploitation and neglect.

Early intervention for at-risk families reduces the risk of children being exposed to violence and abuse, of living on the street or in an orphanage, or of becoming victims of human trafficking.

What does Childhood do?

Our support for families at risk includes a home visitation program to support expectant and new parents – both practically and emotionally – thus enabling them to bond with their children and keep them safe. In other projects, social workers cooperate with prenatal and child healthcare services to enable early identification of families at risk and thereby allow for intervention to prevent the child from abandonment or neglect.

We also support projects focused on involving more fathers in the care of their young children as well as parenting training and parenting groups, where parents can receive specific parenting tips, advice and support from other parents.

Childhood also supports projects that help make it possible for families to support themselves and their children, thus reducing the risk of children living on the street or in an orphanage, or becoming victims of human trafficking. Typical examples are childcare, contributions toward school uniforms or school transport, vocational training, employment assistance, microloans to start a small business, assistance when registering for government benefits, and so forth.