The child with socio-cultural disadvantage in children's services: Toward building educational alliances with families

Childhood is a cultural construction, and it is within a certain way of representing childhood that children experience and learn to relate to the context of reference; in some cases, the context, the culture to which they belong, and their families appear inadequately supportive, indeed harmful and threatening, representing not a resource but a difficulty. The deficiency of the social and familiar fabric translates, in fact, into the inability of the context itself to support the difficulty, placing that child or girl in a condition of disadvantage.  The right of every child or girl to access adequate learning opportunities finds, therefore, in child care services a crucial place that represents the guarantee for each and every one to access pathways of emancipation that can reduce educational poverty and foster inclusion. In this sense, a first step toward the realization of these goals is undoubtedly the building of a solid alliance between educational services and families through the identification of frameworks and operational tools, such as the Overlapping Spheres of Influence Model (Epstein 1987, 1995, 2011).