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Children are not little adults, but they are the adults of tomorrow. The first years of life are a particularly sensitive phase in life, in which - as we know today - an important basis for health in the course of life is already laid. Life skills, coping with stress and health behavior are already applied to the very young child.
The aim of interventions in early childhood is to support children and parents as early as possible in the task of caring for their children well and establishing a secure bond with them. According to the definition agreed within the framework of the Austrian basic project, “early help” aims to improve development opportunities for children and parents in the family and society at an early stage and in the long term.
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What early help can do
The concept of “Early Childhood Interventions” has been used successfully in other countries such as Germany for some time. On the recommendation of the national child and youth health strategy, it is continuously implemented in Austria in order, among other things, to help and accompany parents in their upbringing and care tasks (e.g. strengthening parenting skills). The National Center for Early Help, which has existed since 2015, promotes and supports the implementation of the measures in Austria.
In practical implementation, “early help” are multi-professional support systems established at local and regional level. The offers for parents and children in early childhood are coordinated from a central point. Particular care is taken to ensure that the offers can be used as easily as possible.
Support for families
Secure attachment is an essential cornerstone of promoting a child's development. A positive parent-child relationship is an important protective factor for health. Early help is used, among other things, to identify stress factors in good time, to provide targeted support to families and to strengthen the parenting skills of the parents. For example, mothers and fathers in stressful life situations receive timely assistance. One of the overarching goals is to improve children's development opportunities and health opportunities at an early stage and in the long term.
What early help offers
Offer early help:
Promotion of parenting and relational skills
Support for everyday life,
individual measures even before crises or stressful situations arise for children,
various offers and measures,
early promotion and safeguarding of the child's well-being
There are currently 25 regional early aid networks in Austria that offer advice, support and support. You can find information on this on the website www.fruehehilfe.at.
National Center for Early Aid
At the beginning of 2015, the National Early Aid Center was set up by the Ministry of Health at Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (GÖG). It is financed by the Federal Health Agency as part of the prevention strategy. The tasks of the National Center are aimed in particular at promoting and supporting nationwide coordination and networking, quality assurance of implementation as well as knowledge transfer and public relations work.
"Early help" is an overall concept of health-promoting measures and interventions in early childhood - pregnancy through to school entry. Development opportunities and health opportunities for children and parents in families and society should be improved early and sustainably. Also further professional networking (between doctors, social workers, etc.) in this field is favored by this. The website "Early Help" serves as a platform for "Early Help" in Austria and provides basic information, project results and information on events, further training opportunities and contact points.
Implementation of early aid goals
The focus of "Early Help" in Austria is on family companions, who are available as specific contact persons for families in stressful life situations. These companions help to find and take advantage of suitable social and health-related offers. Initial evaluations show that Families across all population groups are accompanied and, in line with the objective, socially disadvantaged people are particularly well reached.
The "Early Help" program is part of the child and youth health strategy as well as the Austrian health goals. It is implemented in cooperation with the federal, state and social security agencies Ongoing exchange with practice partners in all nine federal states.A basic project on early aid was also carried out as part of the 2011 to 2014 pension fund period with a focus on nutrition.
The early help quality standard, published in 2018, defines quality requirements and is initially only of a recommendation.
More informative links
- SAFE program (Safe Education for Parents / A training program to promote a safe bond between parents and child): www.safe-programm.de - courses are also offered in Austria.
- National Center for Early Aid (Germany): www.fruehehilfe.de.
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