Famiglie per l’Accoglienza – UK and Ireland

About Famiglie per l ‘Accoglienza

Famiglie per l’Accoglienza is a private association of families who host, either on a temporary or permanent basis, people who need a family. Every human being needs to feel welcomed and loved in order to grow, and the family is the first natural place where this happens.

Our Western culture tends to consider family life as a private entity to be guarded jealously and lived in a closed manner. This influences the structure of the family and proposes individualistic models which are very different from the traditions of people.

The main purpose of the Association is to support families and individuals to live the value of the family as the essential place for the growth and embrace of the person. It also seeks to develop the cultural significance of the family and promote its social role.

History of the Association

In 1982 some families who were living adoption and foster care experiences decided to meet regularly to support each other and delve into the meaning of what they were doing. At the origin of this experience is the encounter with the event of Christ, who is concretely met as a presence in the everyday aspects of life. It is the embrace of the Christian community that allows families to extend their love to children and people who need care. In time, the experiences became more diversified: besides adoption and foster care, the network enlarged to families who give hospitality to young people and adults with various difficulties, relatives assisting loved ones away from home due to acute diseases, unmarried mothers, old people and students. Within the Association a group made up of families who had children with disabilities was established. It was called “Amici di Giovanni” (“The friends of Giovanni”).

The Association is a point of reference for several bodies involved in organising social activities and hospice care. Some of these are well established and others recently created.

Methodology and Mission

There are no families “specialized” in welcoming people in need into their homes. Any family can welcome a person into their home and love that person for what he or she is. Some families, having had a positive experience of hospitality on a short-term basis have given their availability for longer periods and, in some cases, for problematic situations.

Our mission is to sustain families involved in the care of people, supporting the sharing of experiences and solidarity among them and highlighting the underlying reason for being open to the others, which for us is the imitation of the redemptive charity of Jesus. We seek to promote a culture of hospitality, deepening the values that give rise to it and the awareness that sustains it in families who are already involved in or intend to approach this experience.

Activities and tools

– Meetings among families who share similar experiences: adoption, fostering, hospitality of young or old people and adults. Mutual support meetings are alternated with seminars with experts.
– Conferences for all families on cultural aspects concerning hospitality and care.
– Training Courses for families approaching adoption and fostering mentored by adoptive and foster families
– Professional seminars and conferences for families and welfare workers
– Social action and professional consulting services for members of the Association with the support of dedicated welfare workers (Milan headquarter)
– Cooperation: some families regularly attend round table discussions with Public entities and welfare workers.
– Solidarity Fund: everyone can directly or indirectly sustain the adoption or foster care experiences of friends of the Association by way of economic contributions. This makes it possible to support families who are sustaining high care-related costs (for example children with illnesses, teenagers with scholastic difficulties or unmarried mothers).