Community and Family Studies - Support Networks

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1. Explain the different between formal and informal support networks available to families. (5 MARKS) Support Networks provide assistance for individuals, families and community groups. These can be either formal or informal. Individuals, families and groups rely on themselves, each other and their community to meet their needs and wants.

Formal Support Networks provide individuals and/or families with a particular service or support that they are in need of. These organisations can be found outside the family unit and are managed and operate by governments, private businesses or charities. The government offers pensions, allowances and payments through Centrelink. All of these payments and allowances offer financial support to assist families to purchase food, shelter and clothing. Common examples of formal support networks would include childcare facilities, recreational and sporting facilities, community centres, schools, charities and disability services. The need for formal support networks may differ as some families will have a greater need for a specific type of support at only a certain point in the family life cycle, e.g. when they are starting a family. Formal groups often as well have a set purpose. i.e. Schools educate and workplaces have jobs to be done.

Informal support networks are not structured and provide individuals with assistance through their family and friend-based interaction and networks. They provide different but important things. So these connections are very valuable as they reduce and relieve the stress on formal support systems. They promote the community to be more active and functioning in terms of being more involved. As well as offering emotional support. Informal groups help keep the people in a community in good social health and well being.

This type of network is mostly for emotional support from friends, family and neighbours in the community. For example; Granparents could be called upon to

assist with...
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