The emotional and intellectual stages from childhood to retirement as a member of a family are called the “family life cycle”. In each stage, clients face challenges in family life that allow the building or gaining of new skills. Family dynamics are the patterns of relating or interactions between family members. Each family system and its dynamics are unique, although there are some common patterns. All families have some helpful and some unhelpful dynamics. An understanding of the impact of family dynamics on a client's self-perception may help social workers pinpoint and respond to the driving forces behind her or his current needs. When conducting family life education, a social worker must be aware of his or her own cultural values and norms with regard to material covered and not impose these beliefs on others or be judgmental.
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There are various forms of abuse and neglect: physical abuse (infliction of physical injury); sexual abuse (inappropriate exposure or sexual contact, activity, or behavior without consent); psychological abuse (emotional/verbal/mental injury); and neglect (failing to meet physical, emotional, or other needs). Different forms of abuse occur separately, but are often seen in combinations. Psychological abuse almost always accompanies other forms of abuse. This chapter discusses the indicators and dynamics of abuse and neglect throughout the lifespan, the effects of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse on individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, the indicators, dynamics, and impact of exploitation across the lifespan (e.g., financial, immigration status, sexual trafficking), and the characteristics of perpetrators of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. A past history of violent behavior is the best predictor of future violence. Each prior act of violence increases the chance of future episodes of violence.
This chapter discusses the methods to establish program objectives and outcomes, to assess the availability of community resources, and to create, implement, and evaluate policies and procedures that minimize risk for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. It describes the methods of service delivery, theories and methods of advocacy for policies, services, and resources to meet clients'/client systems' needs, concepts of social policy development and analysis, and techniques to inform and influence organizational and social policy. The chapter then explains the principles and processes for developing formal documents, methods to establish service networks or community resources, community organizing and social planning methods, and techniques for mobilizing community participation. It explores theories of organizational development and structure, the effects of policies, procedures, regulations, and legislation on social work practice and service delivery, and the impact of political environment on policy-making. The chapter ends with discussion of methods to evaluate agency programs.