Family Support Overview


What is Family Support?

Family Support is based on the premise that the primary responsibility for the development and well-being of children lies within the family, and that all segments of society must support families as they raise their children.

Family Support services include a broad array of activities designed to strengthen families, helping parents to raise their children successfully, become self-sufficient, and take an active role in their communities

What is a Family?

“Family” includes those who share responsibility for raising a child to adulthood. A family consists of at least one adult and one child, age 0-18, who are related biologically, emotionally, or legally. Families may be comprised of one parent, two parents, grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, or from a need for mutual support.


(Adapted from San Francisco Citywide Strategic Plan for Supporting Families – San Francisco Starting Points Initiative, September 2003)

This is a one stop resource for Family Support information
as it pertains to our Members, in the San Franciso Bay Area, California


Family Support Principles

The nine Family Support Principles, developed by Family Support America in 1996, guide and frame the Family Support field. They are currently available in English, Spanish, and 'Chinese'.

Read or Download in ENGLISH

Read or Download in SPANISH
Principios de la Práctica de Apoyo

Read or Download in CHINESE
家庭援助原則

Starting Point Documents

The following documents from the San Francisco Starting Points Initiative, which closed in 2003, provide historical data about San Francisco families, Family Support services, and the background context for the founding of the San Francisco Family Support Network.

San Francisco Strategic Plan for
Supporting Families (2003)

Family Resources Centers

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are the most typical kind of Family Support programs. This booklet developed by the State of California explains their history, key characteristics, activities, and functions

Family Resouces Centers in SF
thanks to First 5 SF

FRC Brochure - English

FRC Brochure - Spanish

FRC Brochure - Chinese

Family Support Standards

The Family Support Standards define how the Principles of Family Support are applied programmatically by organizations. The Standards are organized into four sections: Family Centeredness, Diversity, Community Building, and Evaluation

View the National
Family Support Standards

Family Support
Standards Trainings

  As defined by Family Support America, Family Support is all of the following:


  • An approach to strengthening families and communities so that they can foster the optimal development of children, youth, and adult family members.

  • A type of grassroots, community-based program designed to prevent family problems by strengthening parent-child relationships and providing whatever parents need in order to be good nurturers and providers.

  • A shift in human services delivery that encourages public and private agencies to work together and to become more preventative, responsive, flexible, family-focused, strengths-based, and holistic – and thus more effective.

  • Movement for social change that urges policymakers, service providers, parents, and employers to take responsibility for improving the lives of children and families and ensuring they get what they need to succeed.