Social Work Practice with African-American Families: An Intergenerational Perspective

Social Work Practice with African-American Families: An Intergenerational Perspective

Social Work Practice with African-American Families: An Intergenerational Perspective

Social Work Practice with African-American Families: An Intergenerational Perspective


Be more effective by understanding African American families from an intergenerational perspective

Social workers looking to provide competent practice with African American families may be more effective by using a new strengths-based approach from an intergenerational perspective. Social Work Practice with African American Families presents a comprehensive look at this new approach to view, assess, and provide services to multigenerational families and communities. It closely examines this useful innovative framework which encourages opportunities for action to create solutions for survival and change. The approach dynamically considers the changing demographics in American society, key issues, and the various challenges pertinent to the African American community.

This text offers a strong, culturally competent approach to social work practice for African American families that takes into consideration the latest policies, programs, and demographic changes. It also incorporates the voices of African American families, along with teaching that focuses on strengths derived from the transfer of information and support between multiple generations. The book is extensively referenced and provides tables to clearly present data. Topics discussed include:

  • the importance of strong kinship bonds
  • demographic changes
  • mutually supportive intergenerational relationships
  • intergenerational policy
  • intergenerational programs
  • cultural genograms
  • assessment issues
  • long term care giving issues
  • intergenerational influences on education
  • the role of intergenerational knowledge transfer in church
  • community programming
  • and much more!

Social Work Practice with African American Families is a valuable resource for social workers, counselors, educators, and students in African American studies and family studies.


Family must look out for family.

African Proverb

As you look across time and generations, it is important to acknowledge the significance of multigenerational family networks and intergenerational relationships that are central to the African-American experience. History tells us that extended family networks have always been prevalent in the African diasporas. Multigenerational families (four or five generations) providing support and care for family members and fictive kin (nonblood relatives) across the life course has been well documented (Billingsley, 1992, 1999; Freeman & Logan, 2004; Hill, 1972, 1999; Ladner, 1998; Logan, 2001; McAdoo, 1997; McCubbin, 1998; Staples, 1999; Taylor, Jackson, & Chatters, 1997). Equally established are the reports of family and community perseverance in the face of disparity and oppressions spanning 400 years of slavery, years of “Jim Crow,” decades of segregation, marginalization, and continued intentional and unintentional racism (Christian, 1995). In spite of these barriers, there is a legacy of people of African descent with strong family connections, resilience, spirituality, and hope (Bagley & Carroll, 1998; Denby, 1996).

A deficit model—problem-focused approach—is sometimes used to understand African-American families who have carried on in often . . .

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