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Research into the functioning and results of the Family Support Team in Mechelen

Commissioned by the city of Mechelen


From until

Families in need

The intensive and comprehensive support of families with children who have lost touch with society because of a myriad of problems is the basic mandate of the Malines Family Support Team, also known as the Go-team. The Go-team was established in September 2014. Shocked by the serious difficulties faced by some Malines families, the city council gave 'carte blanche' to the PCSW and the 'Youth and Family Care' department of the Malines-Willebroek police zone to team up and to find families in dire need in order to provide result-oriented support, going beyond the walls of their departments.

Clinging aid, intensive, integral and empowering aid

The Go-team is demand-driven: families with serious problems in a range of are referred to the Go-team (with their consent) by the police, Child & Family and the the police, Child & Family and Malines primary schools. Since 2014, 35, 20 and 67 families respectively. A low caseload and limited  administrative constraints give the family counsellors the space to work with the families in a result-oriented way. Their approach is characterised by clinging, intensive, integral and empowering work with great attention to the autonomy of the families. This enables families who have already experienced many setbacks to take small steps forward and gradually regain confidence in themselves and in society.


Casework analysis shows that this approach is paying off. Almost all families saw an improvement in their living situation after a period of support from the Go team, and half of the families saw progress in three or more areas of their lives. The families largely attributed this to the family counsellor's clinging, results-oriented approach. In particular, families who had fewer income and debt problems at the start of counselling improved their living conditions more after counselling with the Go team than families who had many problems in these areas. In other words, unless structural social problems such as inadequate minimum income protection, low debt limits or excessive housing costs are addressed, competent counsellors cannot make sufficient progress.

Another important finding of this study is that the open and increased collaboration with the police, primary schools and Child & Family has paid off. It facilitates an integrated counselling strategy for families at risk, and the structural collaboration between the Go team and the Youth and Family Department of the Malines Police has provided a significant 'return on investment' in terms of reduced interventions and administrative follow-up.

Read the publication GO against child poverty (in Dutch). 

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Poster Resultaten Go Team.pdf


Research manager

Bérénice Storms

PhD in social sciences. Research manager Centre of Expertise Budget and Financial Well-being