Children in Families at Risk: Maintaining the Connections

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Guilford Press, 1995 - Medical - 429 pages
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Over the last two decades, there has been an increasing appreciation of the importance of the family context in child therapy. In her previous, highly acclaimed book Children in Family Context, Lee Combrinck-Graham and her colleagues bridged the fields of child therapy and family therapy with an exploration of basic issues. Building upon that work, this volume describes actual programs that are based on the notion that family connections are substantial resources for healing and recovery even when the family is a very troubled one. With a particular focus on work with severely fractured families, most of these programs attempt to keep children connected with their own families despite circumstances that sometimes prevent them from living together.

Detailing a wide variety of situations, chapters cover cases involving children who are emotionally and behaviorally disturbed, children with psychiatric disorders, abusive parents, and parents with substance abuse problems. Where family preservation is not possible, chapter authors discuss new strategies to keep families involved in the treatment process.

Laying the groundwork for a comprehensive family-centered system of care, chapters describe a broad range of innovative approaches including programs that:

* Utilize the community "families" of inner city youth
* Involve families in their own evaluation and planning
* Advocate changing school counselors to school-based family
therapists
* Have foster parents collaborate with biological parents.

Each program is fully detailed to include a complete description, a discussion of the value of this approach, and at least one actual example to illustrate how it works.

Taken together, the programs described in this book represent a significant shift in focus for mental health professionals working with children. Further illuminating the key role played by family connection in child health, CHILDREN IN FAMILIES AT RISK is essential reading for all practitioners who work with children and families. Written in an accessible style, it serves as a teaching text for advanced courses in family therapy and child psychotherapy. The book will also provide valuable insights for school professionals, child welfare workers, policy makers, teachers, and attorneys and family court judges.

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About the author (1995)

Lee Combrinck-Graham, M.D., is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The editor of Children in Family Contexts, she is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on children, families, and the systems in which they live.

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