Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice, or concrete support. Research has shown that parents who are isolated, with few social connections, are at higher risk for child abuse and neglect.
Creating a Virtual Office
Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (2014)
Provides a list of resources with contact information that family support groups can use to keep in touch with one another and with constituents. The resources include free newsletter design and marketing, free conference calling services, free file hosting and sharing sites, and free and easy website development.
The Effects of Caregiver Social Connections on Caregiver, Child, and Family Well-Being
Munsell, Kilmer, Cook, & Reeve (2012)
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(1)
Examines the degree to which caregiver social connectedness influences the effects of strain associated with caring for a child with severe emotional disturbance on caregiver well-being.
Effects of Social Support and Conflict on Parenting Among Homeless Mothers
Marra, McCarthy, Lin, Ford, Rodis, & Frisman (2009)
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(3)
Examines the impact of conflict and social support on parenting behaviors in a sample of mothers who are homeless and were involved in a study of case management interventions of varying intensity. Results suggest that social support may enhance homeless mothers' ability to provide consistent parenting.
Engagement of Parents in On-line Social Support Interventions
Paterson, Brewer, & Stamler (2013)
Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 28(2)
Offers nurses a detailed review of research reports about online social support offered to parents of children with chronic disease and/or disability. It highlights future directions for research, including investigations of which parents are likely to engage in online social support interventions, and the features of the intervention that will attract and sustain them as participants.
Family Strengthening Policy Center
National Human Services Assembly
Identifies initiatives that reduce family isolation, increase connections to economic opportunities, develop sustainable social networks, and improve access to supports and services.
The National Parent Helpline: Strengthening Families All Across America (PDF - 104 KB)
National Parent Helpline (2011)
Highlights the National Parent Helpline, a website that provides parents and caregivers with emotional support and refers them to services if necessary.
Responsible Fatherhood Spotlight: Father Involvement and Social Support (PDF - 258 KB)
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (2010)
Explores the relationship between social support and father involvement by reviewing findings from research studies that indicate fathers who report having high levels of social support experience better psychological well-being and demonstrate more positive patterns of father involvement and co-parenting.
Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships as a Moderator of Intergenerational Continuity of Child Maltreatment: A Meta-Analysis
Schofield, Lee, & Merrick (2013)
Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(4)
Summarizes findings of the special issue papers on the intergenerational continuity of child maltreatment and, through meta-analysis, explores the potential moderating effects of safe, stable, nurturing relationships.
Social Networks Make a Difference: Family Economic Success (PDF - 1,600 KB)
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2007)
Describes the ways a social networks approach can contribute to the success of vulnerable families.
Social Support Networks of Single Young Mothers
Schrag & Schmidt-Tieszen (2014)
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 31(1)
Reviews a study that explored the nature of social support networks of young, unmarried mothers in Michigan; highlighting themes that include the desire to seek support and be independent, support from the family, the lack of support from the child’s father, etc. Includes discussion of the implications for case management and agencies working with teen mothers.
Strengthening Families: Social Connections
Forthun, Carannante, & Diehl (2011)
University of Florida Department of Family, Youth, and Community Services & Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Focuses on the importance of maintaining social connections and promotes positive parenting to protect against stressors and frustrations. This brief describes ways parents can increase their social connections lists resources for parents.