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couple arguing 2466 resources to help relationships - families and early years

In my last blog about this subject, we looked at resources that could be helpful in developing good parenting for early years. In this one, let's look at resources that churches can use to help relationships.

First of all, courses:

Care for the Family:

Let’s Stick Together - in the excitement and utter exhaustion of becoming new mums and dads, the first thing that a couple can overlook is their own relationship. ‘Let’s Stick Together’ introduces simple, practical skills that really work within a relationship. It doesn’t matter how different we are as individuals and couples, or what our circumstances are. The principles of a successful relationship are common to all. ‘Let’s Stick Together’ is a one hour session that offers positive and practical ideas for how to handle those inevitable differences.

Family Caring Trust:

Strengthening Couple Relationships - Couple Alive. Effective support for couples of all ages, with practical skills to make love last - or to renew it. Six weekly sessions for couples at all stages - engaged, cohabiting, recently married or together for up to forty years. Helps couples deepen or renew their love, commitment and understanding for one another. Also teaches the "Listen and Check" method which has dramatically reduced rates of separation, divorce and domestic violence among couples who have learned to use it in Europe and the United States.

Relationship Central:

The Marriage Course - a series of seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. The course offers a lifetime of practical ideas and tools to help keep a relationship strong. It is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

The Marriage Preparation Course - a series of five sessions to help engaged couples or those exploring the possibility of marriage, build strong foundations for their future together. For any engaged couple planning to give their marriage the best possible start. The course is also for couples who would like to explore the idea of getting married, or for couples where one or both partners have been married previously.The course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background. They do not need to be getting married in a church to come on the course.

Then there are church-based community franchise initiatives you may want to explore:


4Family has been developed from Yeovil4Family. This was set up by churches in Yeovil who have a heart to see the tide of family breakdown turn in their town, to see children who are loved and cared for prosper and family relationships that are constructive instead of destructive and damaging. It is a family support project set up in response to the fact that some families in our community are in need of additional support.

The 4Family Programme will give you processes, knowhow and toolkit together with training. They will also train you to train volunteer Family Mentors to provide one-to-one listening support in the home with families where there are children aged 0-18 years, for one hour a week. The aim is to ‘help families to help themselves’. To do this Mentors are trained to work with the family by listening to them in a non-judgemental way and help them gain the support they need to make changes, find solutions to their challenges and bring new hope into their lives.

And then some faith based charities:

Safe Families for Children:

Safe Families for Children works by bringing together; a safe and friendly temporary home for children, befriending and support for struggling parents, access to useful goods and services. The Safe Families model is now established in the UK but originates in Chicago. It has proven highly effective in stabilising families at times of crisis, preventing child neglect and abuse, and has contributed to reductions of up to 50% in the numbers of children entering the foster care system in some American states. Safe Families is now operational in 65 cities across 25 states and over 20,000 children in the USA have benefitted from the intervention. It has a strong relationship to churches in local communities, which is where it finds most of its volunteers. It also has strong relationships with local authorities who refer families and children.

People and churches can be involved in several ways:

  • as a host family who open their home to children while the child’s parents/carers resolve short-term crises.
  • as a family friend who assist, encourage and mentor parents/carers through their difficulties, also helping them to access other services as needed.
  • as a support, providing other resources a family might need, for example the donation of household items or skills such as driving, gardening or cleaning.
  • as a family coach who oversees the help a host family or family friend gives to children and parents/carers, and also supports the parents, connecting them with needed services or resources.

Some questions for leaders to think through:

  • How can we involve lots of people from the community in the courses, not just church attendees?
  • Is this something we can build into other initiatives e.g.our parent and toddler group?
  • Could we run courses in local businesses as part of staff well-being initiatives?
  • How do we reach troubled families?
  • Do we want to explore the programmes and do something more than courses?

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Geoff Knott, 12/04/2016

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