Critical Issues in Protecting Children and Serving Families
Research shows and experience confirms that families have changed and become more complex. Yet institutions and agencies offering social services to complex families have been slow in adapting to change. The affinograph method of initial assessment reveals that the notion of a “single-parent family” poorly corresponds with actual family constellations. The affinograph avoids preconceived notions of what the family ought to be and allows service providers to identify families from the client’s perspective. Clearly defined families include nonresident parents and extended family. A systemic view of the family often clarifies sources of problems and leads to more lasting solutions. In general, affinographs help identify the need for integrated services across linked households and multiple generations.