Identify different family structures

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 2.5: Work in partnership
Learning outcome: Understand how to work in partnership
Assessment criteria: Identify different family structures


The traditional image of a family structure is a married couple with children. However, this is not always the case. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of families that are headed by single parents or that have two parents who are not married. There has also been an increase in the number of children who are being raised by grandparents or other relatives.

It is important for Early Years practitioners to be aware of the different family structures that exist in order to provide the best possible support for children and families. A list of some of the different family structures is provided below:

  • Traditional families
  • Same gender parent families
  • Single parents
  • Reconstituted families (children have a natural parent and a step-parent and may also have half-siblings. They may also move between the two families of their natural parents.)
  • Communal families (multiple families that live together)
  • Foster families
  • Families where children are brought up by aunts, uncles or grandparents
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