ERIC Number: ED493316
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Community-Based Family-Focused Practice and Social Network Intervention. Data Trends #129
Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health
"Data Trends" reports present summaries of research on mental health services for children and adolescents and their families. The article summarized in this "Data Trends" examines research on the "contribution of informal support linkages in the achievement of treatment outcomes" in three models of family-based practice: Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFSP), Multisystemic Therapy (MST), and Wraparound. For the purposes of this review, the author defines support activities according to their functions; for example, support that provides "emotional sustenance, concrete or tangible aid, information, problem-solving, affirmation". Included are interventions designed to optimize existing support networks and to create new networks, variously labeled as network facilitation, network enhancement, or network intervention. The author concludes that, although these three practice models (IFSP, MST, wraparound) include an emphasis on the enhancement of family support, this is not reflected in the design and implementation of empirical research on the models. One reason for this omission is that traditional approaches to program evaluation derive from deficit models, with an emphasis on using reliable and valid measures of problems and symptoms as a way of evaluating program effectiveness. As noted by the author, "in contrast, measures of functional strengths and environmental resources are underdeveloped and underutilized". This has important implications for the design and evaluation of future programs. Advancing understanding of the role of informal supports in treatment outcomes will require more attention to clarifying and operationalizing support concepts, support network intervention goals, and anticipated outcomes. Since the meaning of support is likely to vary with the family and community culture, it is also essential that such interventions are family-driven. Interventions that are individually tailored make the assessment of fidelity more challenging. Nevertheless, it is evident from this review that there is a need to develop more effective ways of developing and evaluating family support network enhancement practice. [This "Data Trends" presents a summary of: Cox, K. F. (2005). Examining the role of social network intervention as an integral component of community-based family-focused practice. "Journal of Child & Family Studies", 14(3), 443-454.]
Descriptors: Family Needs, Social Support Groups, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Intervention, Social Networks, Individualized Family Service Plans, Evaluation Methods, Family Programs, Outcomes of Treatment
Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health. 1600 SW Fourth Ave., Suite 900, Portland, OR 97201. Tel: 503-725-4175; Fax: 503-725-4180; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.rtc.pdx.edu.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (DHHS/PHS), Rockville, MD. Center for Mental Health Services
Authoring Institution: Portland State Univ., OR. Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health.; University of South Florida, Tampa. Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health.