Familiestøtten (Family Support) helps economically disadvantaged families by matching them with resourceful families, and is thereby reducing the economic difficulties of vulnerable families, so parents get more time to be parents and children can be allowed to be children.
Poverty in Denmark can be rooted in numerous things. In some cases, its caused by the parents getting a divorce, where the mother or father is left alone with the children or it can be caused by various physical or mental illnesses, causing unemployment in the family. Whatever the reason, one of the biggest consequences of families living in poverty is the decrease in opportunities the children have of leading normal and successful lives – vis-à-vis; breaking the negative social heritage. The children are often bullied, which is only amplified by getting involuntarily excluded from going on school outings, children’s birthdays etc. due to the parent’s inability to afford them participating. Children living in poor families also often lead lives full of worry, because the parents’ economic frustrations rub off on them. The children thus feel guilty and feel they have obligations for the families’ economic situation, a feeling that no child should ever have.
Through Familiestøtten the economically vulnerable families not only get their economic burden lifted, they also have a chance to relieve their children of a lot of worry. They get the chance and the surplus energy to be parents, letting the children get a chance to be children.
Familiestøtten is in short a matching system that links economically wealthy families with families that are economically challenged. This is done by matching a donating family, which has children that are of the same sex, but slightly older than the children in the receiving family, so that the sponsored clothes fit, and the toys are age-specific.
Freeing the economically challenged families of these expenses, frees up money for the families to do activities, allowing the children to attend after-school activities - and it also relieves some of the stress and tension of feeling poor. Additionally, many of the donating and receiving families have become more personally involved in each other’s’ lives, allowing for an increased mutual understanding of, and learnings between both families. As a positive environmental side effect, the concept also provides a way of re-using clothes or toys that might otherwise be thrown out.