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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Family Support
Support groups are formed by people who face similar challenges and who come together to share information, coping skills and understanding. Essential characteristics of these groups include a common concern, a decision to do something about that concern, and equality among members. Typically, a support group is run by and for its members; membership and participation are voluntary. Family support groups vary in type, form, and structure. For example, a very unstructured gathering of families in a housing community may meet once in a while, just to talk over how things are going for everyone. Or a community may sponsor more highly structured self-help programs, such as 12-step programs, that meet regularly at the same place and time and have specific tasks or activities for those attending. Most commonly, support groups are centered around behavior change, domestic violence, lifestyle issues, substance abuse and mental health. However, family support groups may be formed around any concern as long as there are people who wish to get together to help each other out. Support groups are a great resource for families, whether or not the family is receiving other services. Family participation in support groups often continues long past the family's involvement in more formal services. Click below for additional resources and family support strategies.

Other Helpful Info

Principles of Family Support Practice

Self-Help and the Human Services: Toward a New Caring Paradigm

Family Support Strategies

Family Support
  Family Support America

  Parent Services Project

  Self-Help/Mutual Aid


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.