UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study of changes in functioning of multi-problem families Crane, Stephanie Enid


In recent years a considerable amount of research has been done on the subject of the multi-problem family. The realization that some families were utilizing most of the communities services, time and money and still showing little change lead social agencies to study and experiment with new ways of serving these families. In 1959 the Community Chest and Councils of Vancouver recommended that a special project be developed in one area of the city to demonstrate co-ordination and integration of services to the multi-problem family. From this proposal the Area Development Project of Vancouver was established. This project has co-ordinated health, welfare and recreational services to families with complex problems. One part of the project is concerned with direct treatment of multi-problem families and this part of the program is called Integrated Family Services. Five caseworkers provide service to 100 families selected on the basis of chronic and multiple agency use. Each worker provides basic welfare services to the family as a whole and carries out functions delegated by several agencies. The second part of the service is carried out by two social workers and views the neighbourhood as the focus of service. In addition to the demonstration services provided by the project, there is a strong research component. The experimental design calls for 100 families in the treatment group, and 200 families in two control groups, in order to test the assumption that the demonstration services of the project are more effective in improving the functioning of families with complex problems than the "usual services" of health and welfare agencies. The present study is intended to study changes in social functioning between the treatment and control group of the Area Development Project and to measure the effects of selected family characteristics on the changes in social functioning. Although definite conclusions cannot be reached as the writers touched on only a limited area of the total project we feel that the observations and proposals deserve closer consideration. The introductory chapter gives a brief, summary, of the problems the community encounters in dealing with the multi-problem family and the rationale Behind experimental projects designed to study these families. In Chapter II a summary of several studies and projects on the multi-problem family in the United States offers a means of comparison to the local scene. It also illustrates the various approaches that can be taken toward the families with complex problems and defines the term "multi-problem" as utilized in this study. The purpose of the study, its scope, and the methods utilized are outlined in greater detail in Chapter III. In Chapter IV, the research data are classified and presented in table form where appropriate. A brief analysis of the data is also presented. The chapter also contains observations on the research project and its findings as a whole. The thesis concludes by presenting some implications and outlining further areas of study based on the findings of the thesis. This area of study was suggested by the staff of the Area Development Project and it was hoped that the findings of the thesis would provide added implications and observations for their project.

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