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Family and Child Welfare Services

Family and Child Welfare Services

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Family and Child Welfare Services

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  1. Family and Child Welfare Services Chapter 13

  2. Introduction • The family is recognized as humanity’s basic institution. • No other established pattern has been found more effective in molding the personality of children and adults. • The family is the cradle for children, not only physically but psychologically. • Many experts indicate that a child’s basic personality traits have been developed by the time he or she is two years of age, with the family playing the major role in their formation.

  3. Marriage and Family Counseling • Divorce will occur approximately 4,000 times in an average day resulting in more than a million divorces each year. • In the 90’s the trend of approximately half of all marriages ending in divorce has remained constant with a higher percentage of divorces occurring with subsequent marriages. • When couples divorce, the income for a now single mother decreases by about two-thirds. • Divorce has been identified as a risk factor for children to be abused, to be involved in higher crime rates, to abuse drugs, and to have lower academic achievement.

  4. Marriage and Family Counseling • There are more than 100,000 desertions each year in which the husband walks out the door, never to return. • In addition, desertions by wives are increasing at a startling rate. • There are other thousands of “psychologically shattered” homes in which husband, wife, and children walk the same carpets, eat at the same tables, but socially and emotionally lives miles apart. • Such homes provide barren or meager emotional climates for children as well as adults.

  5. Marriage and Family Counseling • “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs; 11:14). • In modern times marriage counseling was instituted with the development of clinics, particularly premarital clinics, in Germany and Austria. • In the United States the roots of professional marriage counseling are many and varied. • The most significant one was the Family Welfare Association of America, established in 1911 to promote family agencies and services.

  6. Kinds of Services • Counseling in this service area may be divided into three kinds or levels: premarital, marriage, and family. • Premarital counseling is the assistance of a person or couple in regard to courtship and marital plans and problems. • Marriage counseling is concerned with husband-wife relationships, plans and problems. • Family counseling includes the husband-wife-children constellation.

  7. Kinds of Services • Social workers use a variety of helping methods and approaches that include: • Role theory • Exchange theory • Transactional analysis • Gestalt therapy • Systems theory • family therapy • Behavior modification • Psychoanalytical approach • Reality therapy • Solution-focused therapy

  8. Kinds of Agencies • Much counseling is done by social workers in county welfare departments including work with families in the TANF program. • Many courts have social workers attached to their organizations. • Others play important roles in university and college counseling centers. • Social workers play important roles in private family counseling agencies such as Family Service America. • Social workers are in private practice in marriage and family counseling both on a full-time and part-time basis.

  9. Battered Women • A statement by the American Medical Association affirms that as many as a third of women’s injuries coming into emergency room are not from accidents. • Family violence is one of America’s most critical health issues. • Research focusing on children exposed to this behavior has determined that it has profound effects on them. • Boys who witness family violence have higher rates of aggressive behavior and are at a higher risk of becoming batterers as adults. • Children exhibit behavioral problems including clinging and aggressive behaviors and disruptions in their sleep and toileting.

  10. Battered Women • Social agencies in almost all cities have set up facilities to protect and care for those who are forced to leave their homes because of physical and/or emotional abuse. • Many agencies provide temporary housing where they may stay for anywhere from a few hours to several weeks until permanent facilities can be found. • Counseling is provided in individual and group sessions, and support groups are available for continuing help. • U.S. Catholic bishops have declared that parishioners are not required by their religion “to submit to abusive husbands.”

  11. Rape Crisis • Because of the need and demand, rape crisis centers offering 24 hour help have been organized in almost all cities. • These centers provide immediate crisis intervention, including information regarding availability of medical help and support in contacting the police. • Later the centers sustain victims through the lengthy adjustment period that is usually needed to restore feelings of safety, self-worth, and freedom.

  12. Family Disorganization and Child Abuse and Neglect • A great many children live in home with only one parent. • A substantial number of children living in two-parent homes have a stepparent. • By the year 2010 more than half of all families may be stepparent families. • A disproportionate number of children of divorced parents are dependent upon public assistance.

  13. Family Disorganization • Day-care centers have mushroomed, and problems related to caring for babies and small children of working mothers are an important policy issue debated today at the highest levels of government. • Single parents shouldering the responsibility of two parents are often unable to provide the role models, parenting, or needed income found in households with both parents. • Many changes affecting the family have occurred in social roles and role expectations of individual members. • In America in 1850, when 85 percent of the total population lived in rural areas and only 5 percent in cities of 100,000 or more, children were valued for their work and productive effort. • There was a radical change in the picture a century later, when about 60 percent of the total population was living in 168 metropolitan areas.

  14. Family Disorganization • In 1948, 11 percent of all married women in the United States with children six years and younger were in the workforce. • In the year 1997, the number had risen to 63 percent. • For single mothers, 61 percent worked outside the home. • The majority of working mothers are employed full time.

  15. Child Abuse and Neglect • Research showed that 60,000 children were being abused each year. • The 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was enacted and aimed at prevention, identification, and treatment of this problem. • The act provided funds to persons and agencies willing and able to take action but who previously had been hampered in their efforts by lack of money. • Recent figures by the Department of Health and Human Services (2000) estimate that a little less then three million reports were received by social service agencies in 1998. • While children may be abused by anyone, parents of maltreated children have been found to be the majority of the perpetrators.

  16. Child Welfare Services • Child welfare is: • A field of service • A social work practice area that encompasses a variety of child welfare activities • A practice field that focuses attention on issues, problems and policies related to the welfare of children • The application of knowledge and skill to problems of children • The enhancement of social functioning of children

  17. Child Welfare • Child welfare service include provisions for children in their own homes, in substitute family homes, and in many institutions. • Statutory provisions in most states stipulate that except for the most compelling reasons, a child should not be deprived of a home or of the opportunity to be nurtured by his or her parents. • Only in the event of major, irreparable breakdown in family life is it desirable to separate children permanently from their natural parents.

  18. Foster Care of Children • Foster care is the care of children in arrangements that are substitutes for care by natural parents. • Foster care is usually preferable as a treatment mode for babies and young children. • Since the mid-1980’s is was estimated that 520,000 children were in foster care homes in the United States. • This number has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. • Children were found staying in foster care longer (5 years or more) and more were entering foster care than were leaving.

  19. Foster Care • Foster care is not indicated for children who have a caretaking parent who is out of work. • Children may be placed in foster care when the parents voluntarily seek a placement opportunity. • Children may be placed in foster care by court commitments if they are dependent, neglected, or delinquent.

  20. Group Living Arrangements • Group living may be the treatment of choice for the child who has experienced prolonged emotional deprivation. • An aggressive, acting-out child who cannot relate to adults or accept substitute parental ties may be a good candidate for care in a group home.

  21. The Foster Parent Movement • The stated reasons for the organization of the Foster Parent Movement include the following purposes: • To improve the quality of life for children in foster care • To raise foster care to a higher plane of regard • To effect legislation that concerns children and natural parents.

  22. Adoption Services • The first legislation on adoption in the United States was enacted in 1851 in Massachusetts. • The number of children placed for adoption in the United States increased from 17,000 in 1937 to approximately 169,000 in 1971. • In 1982 the total number of adoptions had dropped to 141,861, with 50,720 of these being unrelated. • Today, it is estimated that one million children live in adoptive homes in this country.

  23. Adoption Services • The number of infants available for adoption through agencies has decreased in the last decade because of: • Family planning • Legalization of abortions • Acceptance by society of the single parent status • An increase in the number of independent placements • Changes in values of society • The Supreme Court’s ruling that natural fathers in out-of-wedlock births have legal rights to their offspring • Income maintenance programs, food stamps, and subsidized housing for single parent families • The mandating of education from pregnant teenagers • The reduction in the number of maternity homes.

  24. Adoption Services • Children are placed in adoptive homes by one of two methods, either by social agencies licensed to place children or by interested, independent parties. • Social work supports agency placements because children, the adopting parents, and the natural parents are provided safeguards in agency arrangements not available in independent placements. • Independent placement of children are legal in all but six states.

  25. Adoption Services • Of the young women in the United States who become pregnant between the ages of 15 to 19, only 5 percent will place their child for adoption. • Black market baby adoptions are made: • Independent of agencies • Do not have social sanctions • Are made for financial considerations.

  26. Protective Services • In one sense, all child welfare work is protective work. • Protective services are aimed at preventing abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children. • Their aim is to preserve the family unit by assisting parents to develop the capacity for rearing children. • The focus in protective care is on the family where unsolved problems have led to neglect and/or abuse and have become a hazard to the physical and emotional well-being of children.

  27. Physical Neglect and Abuse • A dramatic increase in the number of teenage pregnancies is reported with most young women keeping their babies. • The tenfold increase in child abuse is assumed to be referable in a large measure to teenage mothers who are not prepared for parenthood. • Teen pregnancies can be a national disaster when as many as 8 out of 10 young women who give birth are between the ages of 15 and 17, many never finish school, 90 percent are unemployed, and 70 percent are on welfare.