SteunouderNL organises informal support to families who, for some reason or other, are overburdened. Volunteers provide a welcoming home to a child between one to two half days a week. This way, support parents help to alleviate the parents’ care responsibilities and provide the children with a place in which they can be themselves without having to worry about adult issues. ‘In general, we welcome families from all social backgrounds, but we carefully consider which families need a support parent the most,’ says director Maria Wassink: ‘These are often families with modest means and no support network to fall back on.’
SteunouderNL’s strategy is aimed at strengthening the resilience of the child and their parents in order to avoid the need for more intensive care. The foundation has opted to continually embed its approach into the existing local social welfare organisations. We believe that this offers the best possible guarantee for long-term integration into the municipal social domain’.
The support provided in the start-up phase involves a financial outlay for the welfare organisations, and in addition, they pay an annual contribution towards the expenditure at a national level. The support provided by Dioraphte means that four new municipalities will receive a contribution towards the national costs of starting up with Steunouder. In 2021, there were 23 welfare organisations involved in this concept, amounting to approximately seven matches a year per organisation.
Wassink: ‘In early 2022, we are already counting 36 organisations. Our objective is to increase this number to 45-50 organisations by the end of 2022. Many municipalities have embraced our concept because of its preventative impact. Family situations are less likely to escalate out of control. An initial impact evaluation shows that Steunouder improved the social development of the child and also reduced their parents’ stress levels.’
Stan (12) visits his support mother Petra and her son Lucas. The situation at home is not always good between Stan and the rest of his family. Stan is on the autism spectrum, and sometimes can become very angry. ‘At Petra’s there is peace and quiet. This way I can clear my head and things at home are also much better. I don’t fight with my little brother as much.’