- LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 December 2010
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0073
- LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 December 2010
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0073
Encompassing a broad range of programs, practices, and strategies, family services address individual family members and include children, parents, and elders as well as the entire family system. Services may include resources, such as income supports, counseling, and psychoeducational programs, as well as caregiving, such as child or elder care. Some services are provided by social workers and allied professionals, such as marriage and family therapists, while others are provided by peers or paraprofessional staff. Family services tend to be focused on one or two generational supports and strategies, such as a parent and a child or an elder and an adult child caregiver. Intergenerational services that mobilize all generations to solve problems together or to receive services simultaneously are less frequently employed. The emergence of family therapy models has added to the diversity in approaches to family services. Family services vary depending on whether the issue is alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, delinquency, disabilities, school performance, poverty, parent-child conflict, marital conflict, or caregiving stress. Whether services are covered by publicly provided funds versus private insurance also determines the type and range of supports offered. Given the vast literature and diverse fields of practice, such as addictions, juvenile delinquency, mental health, schools, and aging, this entry focuses many of the selections on public sector families and often those involved with the child welfare system. Diversity and the changing composition of families add to the complexity in services and challenge practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to address their unique needs.
Family services in recent decades have focused on families who receive services from the public sector. Those with financial means often receive individual, marital, or family therapy and may use private insurance to pay for services from private practitioners. Family preservation, including in-home and intensive technologies, multisystemic therapy approaches, and family group conferencing, are more recent service strategies to help public sector families. Brief strategies (task centered, cognitive-behavioral, or psychoeducational services) and concrete services, such as income supports, are part of a long tradition in services to public sector families. Family-centered practice is delineated in the foundational work in Hartman and Laird 1983, and family preservation is depicted in the groundbreaking work of Homebuilders (Whittaker, et al. 1990). Since the 1950s the family therapy movement, led by work such as Satir 1983, has helped build the foundation for developments in family therapy services. Some introductory works have served as foundations for the advancement of public sector service strategies. For example, Reid 1985 offers an empirically based task-centered approach, while Berg 1994 is a solution-focused strategy applied often with public sector families. More community-based developments that also focus on economic supports for families are discussed in Adams and Nelson 1995 and Schorr 1997. McGoldrick, et al. 2005 is one of the classics in family therapy.
Adams, Paul, and Kristine Nelson, eds. 1995. Reinventing human services: Community- and family-centered practice. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Economic supports, integration of community, and individual practice are presented. Strategies include the British model of community social work, family preservation, comprehensive service schools, and a new model for policing. Systems changes in family-centered social services and an integrated strategy for family and economic empowerment are discussed.
Berg, Insoo Kim. 1994. Family-based services: A solution-focused approach. New York: W. W. Norton.
A solution-focused approach emphasizes competencies, strengths, and resiliencies that help empower children and families to effectively deal with issues. Chapters focus on the application of a solution-focused model of intervention, including the initial, middle, and termination stages; defining problems; developing cooperation; setting goals; and creating contracts.
Hartman, Ann, and Joan Laird. 1983. Family-centered social work practice. New York: Free Press.
Provides the framework and rationale for using a family-centered approach for assessing and intervening with public sector families. Drawing on an ecological approach, specific practice elements include cross-systems and cross-agency collaboration, case management, contracting, and interviewing. Ecological and intergenerational assessments along with tools to discern the structure and functioning of the family system are presented.
McGoldrick, Monica, Joe Giordano, and Nydia Garcia-Preto, eds. 2005. Ethnicity and family therapy. 3d ed. New York: Guilford.
Presents road maps and paradigms for understanding families in relation to their ethnic heritage. The authors draw on historical traits and focus on the ways families retain the cultural characteristics of their heritage. The authors highlight cultural genograms, multisystemic and solution-focused approaches, creative therapy, and intensive brief therapy.
Reid, William J. 1985. Family problem solving. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
Features task-centered strategies, procedures, and phases in serving families. An empirical orientation and collaborative relationships are emphasized. Issues involving communication, metacommunication, and rules for interaction are discussed. Types of interventions and tasks (for example, problem solving, communication, role playing) are specified.
Satir, Virginia. 1983. Conjoint family therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior.
This classic book addresses the dysfunctional and functional family triangle and provides tools for assessing incongruent communication patterns. Ways to foster self-esteem, interpret messages, reeducate, and create rules for interactions are addressed. The effects of stress and marital dysfunction on the family are discussed along with parental and environmental factors that help increase a child’s self-esteem.
Schorr, Lisbeth B. 1997. Common purpose: Strengthening families and neighborhoods to rebuild America. New York: Anchor.
Building on her earlier book, Within Our Reach (1989), Schorr offers innovative proposals to rebuild inner cities and to address the poor and the marginalized. An array of social programs and practices are cited that show promise in improving the life chances of high-risk children. The author discusses ways to scale up pilots.
Whittaker, James K., Jill Kinney, Elizabeth M. Tracy, and Charlotte Booth, eds. 1990. Reaching high-risk families: Intensive family preservation in human services. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Introduces the Homebuilders approach to helping high-risk public sector families. Characteristics of family preservation services are discussed along with the history, development, and features of the Homebuilders model. Administrative practices and organizational requisites are presented. Implications for innovation and replication are cited.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Adolescent Depression
- Adolescent Pregnancy
- Adoption Home Study Assessments
- Adult Protective Services in the United States
- African Americans
- Aging, Physical Health and
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems
- Alcohol and Drug Problems, Prevention of Adolescent and Yo...
- Alcohol Problems: Practice Interventions
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
- Anti-Oppressive Practice
- Asian Americans
- Asian-American Youth
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Baccalaureate Social Workers
- Behavioral Health
- Behavioral Social Work Practice
- Bereavement Practice
- Brief Therapies in Social Work: Task-Centered Model and So...
- Bullying and Social Work Intervention
- Canadian Social Welfare, History of
- Case Management in Mental Health in the United States
- Child Poverty
- Child Welfare
- Child Welfare and Child Protection in Europe, History of
- Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Chronic Illness
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Lesbians
- Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Pop...
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Community Development
- Community Policing
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Community-Needs Assessment
- Comparative Social Work
- Conflict Resolution
- Council on Social Work Education
- Counseling Female Offenders
- Criminal Justice
- Crisis Interventions
- Cultural Competence and Ethnic Sensitive Practice
- Culture, Ethnicity, Substance Use, and Substance Use Disor...
- Dementia Care, Ethical Aspects of
- Depression and Cancer
- Development and Infancy (Birth to Age Three)
- Direct Practice in Social Work
- Domestic Violence Among Immigrants
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Framework
- Economic Evaluation
- Elder Mistreatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Epigenetics for Social Workers
- Ethics and Values in Social Work
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Finding Evidence
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Issues, Controversies...
- Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
- Families with Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Parents
- Family Caregiving
- Family Group Conferencing
- Family Policy
- Family Services
- Family Therapy
- Family Violence
- Fathering Among Families Served By Child Welfare
- Field Education
- Financing Health-Care Delivery in the United States
- Forensic Social Work
- Foster Care
- Gay Men
- Generalist Practice and Advanced Generalist Practice
- Group Work
- Group Work across Populations, Challenges, and Settings
- Group Work, Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based
- Harm Reduction
- Health Care Reform
- Health Disparities
- Health Social Work
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1950-1980
- History of Social Work from 1980-2014
- History of Social Work in China
- History of Social Work in Northern Ireland
- History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland
- History of Social Work in the United Kingdom
- HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents
- Homelessness Outside the United States
- Human Needs
- Human Trafficking, Victims of
- Immigrant Policy in the United States
- Immigrants and Refugees
- Immigrants and Refugees: Evidence-based Social Work Practi...
- Impaired Professionals
- Implementation Science and Practice
- Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employmen...
- International Social Welfare
- International Social Work
- International Social Work and Education
- International Social Work and Social Welfare in Southern A...
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Intervention with Traumatized Populations
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Juvenile Justice
- Korean Americans
- Latinos and Latinas
- Law, Social Work and the
- Life Span
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Management and Administration in Social Work
- Maternal Mental Health
- Measurement, Scales, and Indices
- Medical Illness
- Men: Health and Mental Health Care
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Diagnosis and the Addictive Substance Disord...
- Mental Health Needs of Older People, Assessing the
- Mental Illness: Children
- Mental Illness: Elders
- Middle East and North Africa, International Social Work an...
- Military Social Work
- Mixed Methods Research
- Motivational Interviewing
- Native Americans
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Neighborhood Social Cohesion
- Neuroscience and Social Work
- Nicotine Dependence
- Occupational Social Work
- Organizational Development and Change
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Parent Training
- Philosophy of Science and Social Work
- Physical Disabilities
- Police Social Work
- Positive Youth Development
- Postmodernism and Social Work
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Practice Interventions and Aging
- Practice Interventions with Adolescents
- Practice Research
- Productive Engagement of Older Adults
- Profession, Social Work
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Theory
- Psychopathology and Social Work Practice
- Psychopharmacology and Social Work Practice
- Psychosocial Framework
- Psychosocial Intervention with Women
- Qualitative Research
- Race and Racism
- Religiously Affiliated Agencies
- Reproductive Health
- Research Ethics
- Restorative Justice
- Risk Assessment in Child Protection Services
- Risk Management in Social Work
- Rural Social Work Practice
- School Social Work
- School Violence
- School-Based Delinquency Prevention
- Services and Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Youth
- Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Adults
- Sexual Assault
- Single-System Research Designs
- Social Development
- Social Insurance and Social Justice
- Social Justice and Social Work
- Social Movements
- Social Planning
- Social Policy
- Social Security in the United States (OASDHI)
- Social Work Education and Research
- Social Work Regulation
- Social Work Research Methods
- Solution-Focused Therapy
- Strategic Planning
- Strengths Perspective
- Strengths-Based Models in Social Work
- Supplemental Security Income
- Survey Research
- Systematic Review Methods
- Task-Centered Practice
- Transdisciplinary Science
- Translational Science and Social Work
- United States, History of Social Welfare in the
- Veteran Services
- Victim Services
- Welfare State Reform in France
- Welfare State Theory
- Women and Macro Social Work Practice
- Women's Health Care
- Work and Family in the German Welfare State
- Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients
- Young and Adolescent Lesbians
- Youth at Risk
- Youth Services