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The Guiding principles of FamilyTies
Help and support for sibling children
Various social organisations and self-help groups are already offering support for sibling children and/or their families in Germany. To date, however, those affected have often had great difficulty in finding the help and support they need as they have been unable to locate the services available. Even professionals find it hard to signpost families to suitable support. There is therefore a need for adequate, transparent, and systematic support for children and their families that is needs-based, quality-assured, and comprehensive.
FamilyTies has therefore made it its mission to make existing services easy to find and to initiate new services. There are more than 200 services registered in the FamilyTies database which offer a range of support, from information and advice to support and care through to experiential education and the fostering of self-awareness.
Model for the support of sibling children/ quality circles/ core model
FamilyTies is in the process of developing a comprehensive model for the support of sibling children, ranging from prevention to rehabilitation. This involves analysing the services available to date, identifying those that provide specific support for sibling children, ensuring that they reflect research findings, and finally defining them clearly. Insights into stress management, an important element of the support for sibling children, have been gained at various sites (Augsburg, Hamburg etc.) in developing the prevention model, “Supporting Siblings” (SuSi). The experience thus gained is to be made available in future to other organisations seeking to develop new services for sibling children.
Organisations providing support for sibling children regularly meet at supraregional quality circles to exchange information and experiences, and a system of consistent documentation is being developed .
In addition, the FamilyTies Foundation is working on a core model in partnership with practitioners and academics, with the aim of providing an overview of all the elements essential to the provision of effective support for sibling children.
Continuing professional development
With the support of the FamilyTies Foundation, the Institute for Social Medicine in Paediatrics Augsburg (ISPA) together with practitioners from the Sozialverband (social association) VdK Bayern and the Bildungs- und Erholungsstätte (educational and recreational centre) Langau have developed a continuing professional development model for qualified staff in social welfare and healthcare – a pilot course that qualifies staff as trained specialists in sibling support.
The course not only provides the theoretical background to the situation and needs of siblings but also develops specific practical skills that can be applied in sibling work. Participants have the opportunity to contribute their own experiences and motivation to the course and reflect upon them and also to acquire the tools to develop needs-based support for siblings.