Family-Centered Care

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:

  1. Acknowledges the family as the constant in a child’s life.
  2. Builds on family strengths.
  3. Supports the child in learning about and participating in his/her care and decision-making.
  4. Honors cultural diversity and family traditions.
  5. Recognizes the importance of community-based services.
  6. Promotes an individual and developmental approach.
  7. Encourages family-to-family and peer support.
  8. Supports the child as he/she transition to adulthood.
  9. Develops policies, practices, and systems that are family-friendly and family-centered in all settings.
  10. Celebrates successes.


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