Connect Families with Additional Supports

Practice Area 4

When you share information with families about community and cultural resources, you support family well-being. That includes making helpful and appropriate referrals. These resources and referrals can include job or educational training opportunities, along with any other referrals that address a family's interests, strengths, or goals. Following up with families after you make suggestions and referrals allows you to learn whether the resources or referrals were helpful. To learn about the most appropriate resources and referrals as well as the best ways to share them with families experiencing challenges, consult a supervisor, coach, or colleagues.

Examples of How to Use This Practice

  • Get to know organizations, agencies, and other supports in the communities where families live.
  • Form working relationships with community service agencies and providers. Set up a system for referral and follow-up, including the best points of contact for a family.
  • Use a "warm handoff." Refer families to service providers through an in-person or virtual meeting when possible and with the family's permission. If a "warm handoff" is not possible, check in with families to see how the referral went and if they were able to access services. Be sure to ask families how services are going and if they are helpful. If services are not helpful, partner with families to find another resource or referral that meets their needs.
  • Partner with community agencies and providers to address barriers that prevent families from accessing needed supports (e.g., transportation, child care, language, inconvenient appointments times, required documentation).
  • Talk to your supervisor and others to make sure you are familiar with services in the community. These include parenting supports, health care, mental health services, and services for families facing serious challenges (e.g., child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, or parental mental health and substance use difficulties), and more.

Reflection Questions

  • How can you connect families to community services that support their well-being?
  • How will you follow up with families to find out if they are making progress toward their family goals for well-being?
  • How can you partner with your team and supervisor to review your program's community partnerships, assess their effectiveness, and identify new potential partnerships to support family well-being?