Father talking with disabled son waiting in doctor's office

Introduction to secondary prevention

Secondary level prevention is designed to act as a “safety net” when, for whatever reason, primary prevention measures have proven to be insufficient.

It comprises targeted support of various kinds for individuals and families (and sometimes groups) who have been identified as being in particularly vulnerable circumstances and/or unable to cope. The children concerned here include those at risk of being relinquished and those whose removal from the parental home on protection grounds may have to be considered.

Secondary prevention is therefore the provision of targeted support for individuals and families (and sometimes groups) who are identified as particularly vulnerable.

Examples of support might include:

  • Parent support groups that help parents cope with the situation that is causing the vulnerability and meet the challenges and responsibilities of parenting;
  • Respite care for families that have children with special needs - temporary short time care perhaps for a week at a time when a parent or a child has a severe disability and requires 24-hour care;
  • Home visiting programs that provide support and assistance to vulnerable expectant and new mothers;
  • Family resource centres that offer information and referral services to families living in low-income neighbourhoods;
  • Support programmes focusing on parents that have specific problems such as drug or alcohol abuse.

In the next step, we will watch a video in which Matilde Luna, a care specialist from Latin America, will tell us more about secondary prevention.

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This article is from the free online course:

Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

University of Strathclyde