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Family Support - Article Example

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Family Support How would you define family support? In the course of human history, family dynamics may have evolved. In the past, the traditional family included a father, a mother, the children and the extended family members. Nowadays, families come in different forms with different values upheld…
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Family Support

Family support is a philosophy that promotes the growth and development of families. It aims to enhance the strengths innate in families as well as strengthening identified weaknesses in order for the members to achieve optimal well-being and personal success. Various family support programs have been developed and offered in communities, however, Malcolmson (2002) believes that family support should have a strong commitment to relationship-building based on trust, respect and sharing of power. Dunst (1995) offers the following characteristics of family support programs: Enhancing a Sense of Community: the coming together of people with similar needs and values. Mobilizing Resources and Supports: sourcing and establishing the necessary services in supporting the family’s needs. Shared Responsibility and Collaboration: sharing of skills and ideas in taking care of the family’s needs Protecting Family Integrity: keeping the values and cultural perspective of the family strong Strengthening Family Functioning: helping family members to strengthen their capabilities to be able support each member to function at his/her best. Adopting Proactive Program Practices: availing of family support services that support and strengthen the family. How does the theoretical framework of family support e.g: premises/paradigms and guiding principles culminate in a promotion model of service delivery to families as described on the reading. The theoretical framework of family support gives the prevailing idea that support services are more preventive than promotional. Initially, being preventive is viewed as a good thing. The cliche “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” hails prevention as the ultimate paradigm to keep families safe, healthy and far from the risks of deterioration. However, Dunst, Trivette and Thompson (1990, as cited in Dunst, 1995) and Cowen (1994, as cited in Dunst, 1995) contend that the use of prevention models goes against the principles of family support. They argue that the prevention of problems does not guarantee that families will effectively function and their competence will be optimized, as opposed to situations when they are given opportunities that support and strengthen families from the onset. Family support is characterized with a proactive paradigm that focuses on further enhancing families’ strength with promotion-oriented practices. Such practices have a mastery and optimization orientation, and the development, enhancement and elaboration of an individual’s skills and strengths are emphasized, most especially the competencies that increase his control over the important aspects of his life (Dunst, 1995). Hence, a promotion model of family support builds strengths instead of rectifying deficits. This way, the individuals benefitting from the promotional family support finds it easier to deal with life’s challenges and difficulties while they set growth-oriented goals and the achievement of personal aspirations. What do you see as the role of the practitioner in this model of service to families? Consistent with Dunst’s (1995) characteristics of family support services, the practitioner has multiple roles in the delivery of such service. Being alert to the needs and strengths of the families in the community, he has a broad picture of the resources and supports available. He is able to match service providers with service consumers and he bridges a sense of responsibility and collaboration between ... Read More
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