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.

Families and Poverty: Theory and Research

Families and poverty: Theory and research

As discussed in Chapter 6, an unemployment event in and of itself does not inevitably result in deleterious consequences for families—and may even lead to enhanced opportunities. But when unemployment is combined with economic hardship, and particularly when one or both factors last longer than a brief period, then the risk of negative outcomes for family members and for the family as a functional social system are greatly increased. In this chapter, I review the research literature regarding the relationship between poverty and family functioning. I draw a distinction between (a) stress from a simple drop in income or assets versus (b) a drop in income that puts the family economically below the poverty ...

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