In Austria, 17% of all families are single parent families, and a total 332,000 children risk poverty and social exclusion. These circumstances create disadvantages that can affect children’s health, growth and future success: recent studies demonstrate that 25% of all young Austrians suffer from at least one mental health issue.
The Human Safety Net, in cooperation with Generali Austria and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has developed a new family mentoring program – FAME, or Family Association for Mental health Everywhere – that strengthens parenting skills and supports children ages 3-6 living in deprived and challenging situations.
The 6-month program applies a resource-based approach designed to foster healthy relationships between parents and children from an early age. It is targeted to families who do not have access to, awareness of or means to pay for parenting support. Six training modules address topics like relationships with children, child development, boundaries, routines, stress management and more. Children participate in parallel workshops on similar topics that are run in a playful, age-appropriate manner. A mentor spends time with them, creating positive experiences through weekly activities. Both parents and children are supported by professional trainers, and the structure includes corporate volunteering opportunities for Generali Austria employees.