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Abstract

Two major types of family centre can be identified. The first type aims to support families in the community by offering a range of practical services to alleviate stress. The second type of centre focuses on assessment and therapeutic intervention in families where children are at risk of abuse. In practice, many centres fulfil both functions and can be termed 'integrated centres'. This paper reports on an evaluation of an integrated centre. The evaluation was conducted on three levels: the managerial level, the level of professionals who work in the centre, and on the level of the families who use the centre. Findings show a contradiction between the two different kinds of services provided by the centre. The contradiction results in the professionals experiencing tension in their role and the families expressing ambivalent feelings about the approach taken to them. The authors outline ways to resolve the tension by suggesting an alternative role for integrated centres.

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