Social Policy and Society

Themed Section on Family Minded Policy and Whole Family Practice

Models and Approaches in Family-Focused Policy and Practice

Nathan Hughesa1

a1 Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham E-mail:


A review of models and approaches to family-based policy and service provision for those at risk of social exclusion suggests three distinct categories. In the first category, approaches seek to strengthen the ability of family members to offer support to a primary service user within that family. In the second category, family members are recognised as having their own specific and independent needs arising out of their relationship with the primary service user. The third category includes ‘whole family approaches’ focused on shared needs and strengths that could not be dealt with through a focus on family members as individuals.