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Article

Ruth Paris and Ellen R. DeVoe

In this entry we address the primary purpose of family in supporting the growth and development of individual members throughout the life course. Life cycle and attachment theories inform our understanding of how families function. Changing family patterns are addressed in terms of the variety of family forms, the multiplicity of needs as economies shift and life expectancy lengthens, family coping and adaptation to normative transitions and unexpected crises, and the influence of cultural and racial diversity. We conclude with brief comments on the issues for contemporary families and needs for the social work profession.

Article

Mikal N. Rasheed and Janice Matthews Rasheed

This entry traces the historical, conceptual, and theoretical development of social work practice with families, beginning with the Charity Organization Society and the Settlement House movement. From the 1920s through the 1950s, social work practice was heavily influenced by psychoanalytic theory. However, emerging theoretical frameworks, including systems and ecological theory from the 1960s and the 1970s, shifted the focus of intervention back to the family. The 1970s saw the development of a proliferation of models for family therapy. The emergence of postmodern, constructivist, narrative and feminist thought has had a more recent influence on social work practice with families. Although these theories and models of family therapy have profoundly influenced direct practice with families, there is a renewed interest in what is described as family-centered social work practice. The theoretical foundation of family-centered practice emphasizes a strengths perspective and an empowerment model of social work practice. This approach represents a broad range of interventions that build linkages between the family and key environmental support systems of diverse, multi-stressed, and at-risk families. During the 2000s, attention has shifted to evidence-based practice (EBP). The focus on EBP has been to provide a source of information for clinicians and families to consider when selecting an appropriate intervention for the presenting problem.

Article

Carole Zugazaga

Ivan Böszörményi-Nagy (1920–2007) was a Hungarian-American psychiatrist and one of the founders of the field of family therapy. He emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1950.

Article

Kylie Agllias

Family estrangement—a concept similar to emotional cutoff in Bowen family systems theory—is the unsatisfactory physical or emotional distancing between at least two family members. It is attributed to a number of biological, psychological, social, and structural factors affecting the family, including attachment disorders, incompatible values and beliefs, unfulfilled expectations, critical life events and transitions, parental alienation, and ineffective communication patterns. Family estrangement is often experienced as a considerable loss; its ambiguous nature and social disenfranchisement can contribute to significant grief responses, perceived stigma, and social isolation in some cases. The social-work profession has a role to play in raising social and political awareness of the prevalence of, contributors to, and effects of estrangement on the intergenerational family, with clinicians working to assess and address the impact of estrangement on individuals and the family system.

Article

Eden Hernandez Robles, Crissy A. Johnson, and Joel Hernandez Robles

Latino immigrant families and their students come with unique cultural and linguistic needs. Working effectively with Latino immigrants in schools is a challenge for social workers. Latino immigrant families represent a variety of racial, ethnic, historical, immigrant, gender, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. While scholars are able to identify aspects of culture and cultural values, their influence on education and how to integrate these values into intervention and prevention programs, or direct services, is still in need of further research. This article offers a portrait of the Latino immigrant population in the United States, discusses the definitions associated with the population, provides some considerations for social workers, and discusses interventions or preventions specific to Latino immigrant students that also include families.

Article

Katharine Briar-Lawson and Toni Naccarato

Over the decades, family services have been one of the overarching features of social work practice, education, and research. Efficacy studies help to reinforce the focus on serving individuals in the contexts of their families and to address intergenerational family systems. Families provide the bulk of services to their members but require tailored resources, effective services, and supports. The growing diversity in families compels more cross-cultural competence, responsive policies, and evidence-based practices. Family service practitioners must increasingly address the social exclusion of many families while integrating economic and employment supports with counseling, skill training, and other interventions.

Article

Michele Baldwin and Froma Walsh

Virginia Satir (1916–1988) helped develop the basic principles of human interaction and communication that guide the practice of family therapy. She was a leading force in the human growth potential movement and director of training at the Esalen Institute.

Article

Edna Comer

Mara Selvini Palazzoli (1916–1999) was best known for being an original member of the Milan Family Center Team and is credited for helping to advance systemic therapy.

Article

Teams  

Julie Abramson and Laura R. Bronstein

Teams maximize the coordinated expertise of various professionals. Social work skills used with clients, especially contracting, monitoring team processes, managing conflict, creating a climate of openness, and developing and supporting group cohesion, need to be purposefully utilized in practice with teams. Social workers can improve team functioning by supporting families and clients as active team members and by addressing ethical issues, including confidentiality and the competence and ethics of team members. Although there is some outcome-based research on teams, more is needed. Emerging trends in this field include embedding the notion of teams in a wider web of collaborative activities, including those mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and giving attention to teams as a vital part of social work education.

Article

Larry D. Icard, Jacqueline J. Lloyd, and Gisoo Barnes

HIV/AIDS has introduced an array of issues and needs for children, youth, and their families. Family-focused interventions have emerged as a viable strategy for researchers and practitioners seeking effective and appropriate responses for the prevention, treatment, and care of children, youth, and families affected by HIV/AIDS. This discussion provides an overview of the epidemiology of HIV infection among children and youth, and highlights common elements and trends in the development, implementation, and testing of family-focused interventions. The discussion concludes with a commentary on areas for future attention.

Article

John F. Longres and Eugene Aisenberg

This entry emphasizes diversity among Latinos/Hispanics with reference to national origin group, geographical distribution, language use, racial identity, family life, sexual orientation, immigration and immigration status, and socioeconomic circumstances. It also calls attention to the special dilemmas confronted by Mexican and Central American immigrants and their children.

Article

Elizabeth M. Tracy and Trista D. Piccola

The history and development of family preservation as a home-based service in social work practice is traced, current research is reviewed, and future practice trends and challenges are outlined in this entry. Family preservation services are described in terms of a philosophy of practice as well as a specified service model.

Article

This entry will provide an overview of psychosocial issues and social work intervention relevant to working with lesbians. Practice issues related to the impact of heterosexism, coming out, lesbian identity development, and lesbian couple and family formation will be discussed. Assessment and intervention methods appropriate for social work practice with lesbians will be addressed.

Article

Parent involvement is a broad, multidimensional term that refers to parental attitudes, expectations, and behaviors related to their child’s learning and healthy development. Parent involvement in schools is linked to numerous positive outcomes for youth, teachers, and schools and is critical to school improvement; however a number of barriers often prevent parents from becoming fully involved with schools. Several models exist that provide key strategies to enhance parent and family involvement. This article defines parent involvement, explores an expanded view of parent involvement, describes common barriers, and outlines key strategies to enhance parent involvement. Possible implications for social work practice are also provided.

Article

According to U.S. census data, an estimated 270,313 American children were living in households headed by same-sex couples in 2005, and nearly twice that number had a single lesbian or gay parent. Since the 1990s, a quiet revolution has been blooming in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. More and more lesbians and gay men from all walks of life are becoming parents. LGBT people become parents for some of the same reasons that heterosexual people do. Some pursue parenting as single people and others seek to create a family as a couple; still other LGBT people became parents in a heterosexual relationship. Although there are many common themes between LGBT parenting and heterosexual parenting, there are also some unique features. Unlike their heterosexual counterparts, who couple, get pregnant, and give birth, most LGBT individuals and couples who wish to parent must consider many other variables in deciding whether to become parents because the birth option is not the only option.

Article

Maryann Syers

Lee Kaufer Frankel (1867–1931) was a chemist and developer of family casework practice. He is known for his contributions to health insurance, family services, and Jewish welfare. He was an instructor at the New York School of Philanthropy and was instrumental in establishing the Training School for Jewish Social Work.

Article

Mo Yee Lee, Cathy Grover Ely, Ray Eads, and Xiafei Wang

Single-parent families have emerged as a common family structure, with one in four U.S. children living in single-parent households. Research on single parents has traditionally adopted a deficit-based perspective, and the challenges and barriers faced by single-parent families are well documented. In particular, students from single-parent families often struggle in school settings, with increased rates of behavior problems, lower academic achievement, and less parental engagement in the child’s education. Despite these challenges, an emerging body of literature supports focusing on resilience and strengths, rather than deficits and problems, when working with children and families. Adopting a strengths-based perspective also facilitates collaborative alliances among single parents and various service systems and helping professionals, including social workers and school personnel. This article provides an overview of single-parent families, outlines strengths-based and collaborative interventions for working with children and families, and then presents pragmatic guidelines and a case illustration to demonstrate the practical application of such interventions.

Article

Sadye L. M. Logan

Alfred M. Neumann (1910–2002) dedicated his life to uplifting humanity. He was recognized for pioneering the concept of sheltered workshops for the rehabilitation of social and emotionally mentally handicapped individuals.

Article

Phylis J. Peterman

Michael White (1948–2008), academic, researcher, adventurer, and athlete, is known as a leading developer of narrative family therapy. Narrative family therapy focuses on empowerment, strengths, and collaboration and positions people as the experts in their own lives. The theory has application in problem solving and conflict resolution with diverse groups.

Article

Yi-Shih Cheng

Xiu-Qing Chang (1922–2003) served as the chief supervisor in the Sheau-Kang Joint Service Center of Taiwan Province in the 1970s, which was the largest antipoverty program since the establishment of the Chinese Nationalist government in Taiwan in 1949. She introduced a family-counseling model for helping impoverished families, a model that won the praise of the provincial governor in Taiwan and one that was gradually applied nationwide. Since then, social workers have been incorporated into the government system.