Childhood Neglect - pg. 6

Family System Factors

  • Family strengths; e.g., concern for children, stable relationships, family cohesion, and assertiveness in problem-solving.
  • Income; e.g., employment of head of household and adequacy of income.
  • Size of household, number and spacing of children, and other dependent adults in home.
  • Stability and supportiveness of marital relationship or relationship with significant intimate partner.
  • Children with special needs; e.g., a physical or mental disability, serious behavioral problems, developmental delays, or learning problems.
  • Stability of family membership; e.g., recent deaths, divorces, separations, births, children removed or replaced, or assuming care for children of relatives or friends.
  • Degree of structure and organization of family; e.g., explicitness of family rules, discipline, roles, generational boundaries, and role reversals.
  • Family interaction patterns; e.g., observed verbal and non-verbal communication between parents and children and between adults, attention to children, handling of conflict, balance of negative versus positive parent/child communications, amount of positive physical contact between parental figures and children, children's display of aggressive or withdrawing behaviors.
  • Family boundaries; e.g., openness of the family to outside influences; amount of interaction across family boundaries with individuals, organizations, and the community; and knowledge and use of formal and informal helping resources in community.

Environmental / Community Factors

  • Housing; e.g., adequacy of space for family size; condition of housing; safe conditions for children; and availability of stable, affordable housing.
  • Neighborhood supports for parenting; e.g., safety of neighborhood and recreational facilities; safety of play areas for children; level of neighborhood organization; and communicative, mutually supportive networks.
  • Supportiveness of informal social networks; e.g., availability of relatives, neighbors, friends, pastors, etc., to provide tangible aid, advice, guidance, and emotional support to assist parents.
  • Availability of organized parenting support services; e.g., availability of affordable child care, emergency assistance, after-school programs, recreational programs, parks, high-quality school programs for children with special needs, mental health, and health care, family counseling, parent education, and peer support groups.

Cultural Factors - Strengths

  • Strong loyalty to family, family cohesiveness, and family ownership of children's problems in families.
  • Strong, supportive extended family linkages, and sharing in child care tasks by family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Cultural emphasis on discipline, obedience to rules, and respect for elders who are sources of advice for child rearing.
  • Bicultural competence of children and adults, which permits preserving cultural identity while negotiating the dominant culture.
  • Cultural emphasis on independence of children in Native American families, and interdependence of siblings in Hispanic families.
  • Strong religious values, customs, rituals, and institutions that provide spiritual support and reinforce strong, ethical values for life decisions, respect for elders, and give meaning to life. Churches provide group socialization activities and supplementary child care for children.
  • Value placed on education of children, who are seen as the hope for the future.
  • Strong ethnic community representatives and organizations that help people of color to bargain, negotiate, and obtain resources from the larger societal systems.

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