Family Centered Care

Family-Centered Care is just what it sounds like; the healthcare you receive should be centered on you! Your family’s values, culture and traditions should be included in all decisions. Family-Centered Care assures the health and well-being of children and their families through a respectful family-professional partnership. It honors the strengths, cultures, traditions and expertise that everyone brings to this relationship. Family-Centered Care is the standard of practice which results in high quality services. Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs

Principles of Family Centered Care for Children:
According to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs the foundation of family-centered care is the partnership between families and professionals.

Key to this partnership are the following principles:

  • Families and professionals work together in the best interest of the child and the family. As the child grows, s/he assumes a partnership role.
  • Everyone respects the skills and expertise brought to the relationship.
  • Trust is acknowledged as fundamental.
  • Communication and information sharing are open and objective.
  • Participants make decisions together.
  • There is a willingness to negotiate.

Based on this partnership, family-centered care:

  • Acknowledges the family as the constant in a child’s life.
  • Builds on family strengths.
  • Supports the child in learning about and participating in his/her care and decision-making.
  • Honors cultural diversity and family traditions.
  • Recognizes the importance of community-based services.
  • Promotes an individual and developmental approach.
  • Encourages family-to-family and peer support.
  • Supports youth as they transition to adulthood.
  • Develops policies, practices, and systems that are family-friendly and family-centered in all settings.
  • Celebrates successes.


Family Centered Care Websites

National Center for Family-Centered Care. Family-Centered Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs. (1989). Bethesda, MD: Association for the Care of Children’s Health.

Bishop, Woll and Arango (1993). Family/Professional Collaboration for Children with Special Health Care Needs and their Families. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Social Work.

Family-Centered Care Projects 1 and 2 (2002-2004). Bishop, Woll, Arango. Algodones, NM; Algodones Associates