Collaborative and Strengths-Based Intervening with Students from Single-Parent Families
- Mo Yee Lee, Mo Yee LeeCollege of Social Work, Ohio State University
- Cathy Grover Ely, Cathy Grover ElyOhio State University
- Ray EadsRay EadsOhio State University
- and Xiafei WangXiafei WangSyracuse University
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.