Definition of Family-Centered Care
Family-centered care assures the health and well-being of children and their families through a respectful family-professional partnership. It honors the strengths, cultures, traditions and expertise that everyone brings to this relationship. Family-Centered Care is the standard of practice which results in high quality services.
Principles of Family-Centered Care for Children
The foundation of family-centered care is the partnership between families and professionals. Key to this partnership are the following principles:
- Families and professionals work together in the best interest of the child and the family. As the child grows, s/he assumes a partnership role.
- Everyone respects the skills and expertise brought to the relationship.
- Trust is acknowledged as fundamental.
- Communication and information sharing are open and objective.
- Participants make decisions together.
- Everyone is willing to negotiate.
Based on this partnership, family-centered care:
- Acknowledges the family as the constant in a child’s life.
- Builds on family strengths.
- Supports the child in learning about and participating in his/her care and decision-making.
- Honors cultural diversity and family traditions.
- Recognizes the importance of community-based services.
- Promotes an individual and developmental approach.
- Encourages family-to-family and peer support.
- Supports the child as he/she transition to adulthood.
- Develops policies, practices, and systems that are family-friendly and family-centered in all settings.
- Celebrates successes.
National Center for Family-Centered Care. Family-Centered Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs. (1989). Bethesda, MD: Association for the Care of Children’s Health.
Bishop, Woll and Arango (1993). Family/Professional Collaboration for Children with Special Health Care Needs and their Families. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Social Work.
Family-Centered Care Projects 1 and 2 (2002-2004). Bishop, Woll, Arango. Algodones, NM; Algodones Associates