This manual is a reference for service providers working with families living in poverty who have children under age six. These families face many challenges as a result of living in poverty and often turn to service providers for support in the navigation of these challenges and for needed services.
In order to be effective in their work, it is important that all service providers who work with families living in poverty:
• Have a broad understanding of the issues facing families living in poverty.
• Recognize poverty as a primary social problem and a major determinant of poor health.
• Focus their interventions on decreasing the impacts of poverty.
This manual was written with a wide range of service providers in mind, such as community workers, child protection workers, teachers, health care providers, early childhood educators, social workers and others who interact with families, parents or children.
Questions are raised to encourage service providers to reflect on the influence that poverty has on families as well as the ways they serve these families.
In this resource, the voices of parents and service providers are presented as they offer their needs, concerns and experiences. This information helps to create a picture of how services can operate for optimal impact.
The final chapter presents examples of services that use innovative approaches to address the concerns and challenges of families living in poverty. Lists of key resources for service providers and for parents are provided at the end of the manual.