“Gezinsondersteuning” means Family Support in English. 4 years ago, the social welfare services of Mechelen and the local police have created a new team that supports vulnerable multiproblem families in a holistic way in order to safeguard the children for the consequences of poverty, deprivation of changes, neglect, criminogenic environments and/or unhealthy housing. The name “GO-team” has since then been used for as well the team of 7 outreaching family supporters as for the project itself. Key concepts in this innovative way of social welfare work are “low threshold”, “intensive parental coaching”, “accosting”, “demand-oriented” and “hands on”. The involvement of police in the project is crucial, because 1 out of 2 families reported by the police weren’t known to social welfare services before. The family supporters of the GO-team are generalistic care-takers who provide concrete solutions for acute problems mentioned by parents in multiproblem situations. They bond by doing things together and they book results where none were deemed possible.
The project started in September 2014 and is still running.