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.
Article. 5895 words.
Subjects: Social Work
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