The Family-in-Environment: A New Perspective on Generalist Social Work Practice

By Janice Gasker and John Vafeas.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The ideal of family-centered service is becoming ubiquitous in social welfare policies, programming and practice world-wide. Its evolution is generally applauded for its great potential to empower individuals through family support and preservation. As the concept of “family-centered service” spreads, a comprehensive theoretical foundation is needed both to guide practice and to ensure that family-sensitive policies are sustainable. This paper synthesizes family-centered practice evaluations, policy analysis and relevant theory to provide a conceptual framework: Family-in-Environment. This framework supports multi-level practice responding to the needs of diverse families and supplies a uniform conceptualization that may inform evidence-based practice and strengthen policy development. Case studies demonstrate practice, policy and research implications.

Keywords: Family-centered, Diversity, Social Work

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.291-304. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 677.480KB).

Dr. Janice Gasker

Baccalaureate Program Director, Social Work Department, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, PA, USA

Dr. Gasker is Professor of Social Work and Director of the Baccalaureate Social Work Program at Kutztown University. Dr. Gasker has been working in human services since 1984. She maintains a private social work practice serving individuals, families and groups as well as providing consultation to human service agencies. She frequently works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma and has written two books on this topic, “I Never Told Anyone This Before: Managing the Initial Disclosure of Sexual Abuse” (1998, Haworth Press) and “Incorporating Sexual Trauma into the Functional Life Narrative” (2002, Edwin Mellen Press). Dr. Gasker has been one of the founding designers of the MSW program curriculum at Kutztown University. In addition to research evaluating the efficacy teaching methods, Dr. Gasker is also interested in researching the effectiveness of social work techniques. Dr. Gasker is involved in practice-based consultation with several human service agencies, including the a County Area Agency on Aging, related to management issues.

Dr. John Vafeas

Master of Social Work Program Director; Department Chair, Social Work Department, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, PA, USA

Dr. John G. Vafeas, Professor of Social Work is the Chair of the Department of Social Work and Director of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Kutztown University. Dr. Vafeas has over ten years of practice experience in the field of disabilities, and twenty years of teaching both undergraduate and graduate levels. His teaching expertise includes social welfare policy and practice, information technology, methods of program evaluation and research methodology. Dr. Vafeas has served as a consultant for program evaluation to a number of agencies and is currently involved in conducting research on the effects of accreditation on social service agencies. Most recently, he has been working with the a County Area Agency on Aging and its affiliated agencies on projects related to home health care worker recruitment, training and retention.

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