Under the Children Act, 1989, local authorities will have a general positive duty to provide family support, as well as specific preventive duties. There are several types of preventions - primary prevention is thought of as comprising those services which provide general support to families and reduce the general levels of poverty, stress, insecurity, ill health and bad housing, while secondary prevention represents the next stage, where services may be offered once problems have actually arisen. The argument of this book is that the local authority's general duty to promote the welfare of children in need within their own families may be best fulfilled indirectly, through support for independent, locally based family projects and organisations. The first part of the book attempts to bring together from different academic disciplines ideas about the purposes of preventive services and family support, and research evidence on their impact. In the second part, two local authority areas with different approaches to family support provision are compared.
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