How do economic stresses on the family, such as dual-earner parents, unemployment, and poverty, affect the human service professional's assessment of the families he or she serves? The field of family sociology is now providing a wealth of empirical, relevant knowledge on the impact of macroeconomic issues on the families most frequently helped by social workers. New Approaches to Family Practice takes current research driven by the family systems theoretical framework and applies it to human services direct practice with families in three specific areas: employed-work and family-work, unemployment, and poverty. To illustrate the linkages from research to practice, the book presents chapters on the theory and research in each of the three target areas, each followed by a chapter on application and tools for direct practice in that area. Individual chapters include case studies, assessment tools, multilevel interventions and evaluations, and strategies for social change. In addition to being a rich resource for the human services professional who works with families, this book is ideal for courses in social work with the family, social work and human services, family studies, and clinical/counseling psychology.

Family Systems in Context: The Multilevel Social Systems Model

Family systems in context: The multilevel social systems model

In the past few decades, the systemic or social systems approach has emerged as an important theoretical perspective for understanding and working with families (Anderson & Carter, 1990; Becvar & Becvar, 1993; Broderick, 1993; for general system theory, see Bertalanffy, 1968). This framework is related to social work's person-in-environment, or ecological, perspective (Germain & Gitterman, 1987; for human ecology theory, see Bronfenbrenner, 1979). According to social systems theory, each family is not just a collection of individual members but an organized group of interacting persons who develop roles, rules, beliefs, patterns of communication, and organizational structures for task accomplishment and functioning.

A social systems view involves describing the family ...

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