For the past five decades,there has been an increasing awareness of the need for service and societal responses to people with disabilities to be addressed through a person-centered approach. A person-centered approach is one which seeks to put the person first. The principle of person-centeredness, which is identified as one of the four key principles underpinning Irish health policy, is based in the belief that in order to meet the desires and needs of an individual, their "unique identity...particular gifts and wounds...right to choose, and...capacity to develop, participate and contribute" must be maintained centre stage. Furthermore, it is recognised that person-centered approaches must take account, not only of the person with disability, but also of the family, as their role may be key in ensuring that true person-centerednessis achieved
This is particularly relevant to the establishment and maintenance of the person's circle of support beyond professional services. Thus, whereas person-centerednessis rightly focused on the person, there is a need for service providers to also have a family-centred focus, which is aimed at supporting family to support their family member who has a disability.
In 2010, Genio grant aided four family focused initiatives with a focus on building capacity in a variety of stakeholders in order to promote and support the inclusion of people with disabilities. The initiatives involved training and capacity building with families of people with disability, including people with severe and complex disabilities. The general aim of the initiatives was to increase family members' knowledge and skills and enable them to plan better lives for their family member and to advocate on their behalf.
In 2012, Genio commissioned a team of researchers, from Trinity College Dublin, to conduct an evaluation of the four grant-aided family-focused initiatives from the perspectives of families of people with disabilities and services/organisations. The evaluation employed a multi-method approach using qualitative and quantitative methods to provide a comprehensive evaluation. Data was collected using individual interviews, surveys and documentary analysis.