Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Sorry State Of The American Family, And How Social Work Can Help

The state of the American family isn’t something that we like to talk about as a society. It’s uncomfortable, and it brings up feelings of shame, guilt, and regret. We’d all like to have happy families that last forever, but the reality is that the majority of people don’t. 

The statistics speak for themselves. In 1960, 73 percent of children were living with two parents from their first marriage. By 2014, that number fell to 46 percent. The number of children living with a single parent rose from 9 percent to 26 percent over the same period. 

The job for American society as a whole is to find ways to prevent and reverse relationship breakdown that leads to family separation to improve the lives of both children and parents. 

How to do that is a difficult question. But most people agree that there a role for social work. Currently, there are two major approaches to social work, both of which are explained fully in the following infographic. The first is often called the “problem-focused strategy” is where social workers accept the maxim that “life is problems” and apply this knowledge to family situations. Families go through difficult times: that’s life. The job of the social worker is to help through the tough time. 

The other strategy is the “strengths-based approach.” This view sees families as resilient units capable of massive change on a fundamental level with the correct insights. 

Take a look at the following infographic on the state of the American family and how social workers can ply their trade to resolve familial issues. 

Infographic by Rutgers University