Family-level prevention programs are committed to strengthening family relationships, minimizing family stressors, and linking families to their community through programs and services that help families through different stages of growth and development. While many of our faculty study the family context in the pursuit of prevention initiatives for children, youth, and adults, several faculty stand out in their focus on family development, marriage, and divorce education. Family-level prevention is organized around the notion that family support and education can enhance effective functioning within the family and serve to proactively prevent problems from developing. All family prevention programs are based on the following assumptions:
- Families have primary responsibility for the development and well-being of family members over the life span; they need resources and supports that will enable them to fulfill that responsibility effectively.
- Healthy families are the foundation of a healthy society. Families who are unable to promote their children’s development ultimately place the entire society at risk.
- Families operate as part of a total system. Children, for example, cannot be viewed as separate from their families, nor can families be viewed separately from their communities, their cultural heritage or the society at large. Decisions made on behalf of children must consider the ways in which these various systems are interconnected.
- The systems and institutions upon which families rely for support must assist families’ efforts to raise their children effectively. They must adjust and coordinate their services so as not to hinder families’ abilities to maintain positive environments for their children.
Students with a program of study in the area of family prevention might focus on becoming family life educators, relationship educators, family policy specialists, or family mediators. In addition, students with a focus on family prevention have the opportunity to work on faculty sponsored prevention research within programs designed to prevent:
- Child abuse or elder abuse,
- Couple violence,
- Substance abuse,
- Foster effective parenting post-divorce,
- Promote human services training in family-centered practice,
- Promote coping with the stresses that occur within families managing the chronic or acute illnesses of family members.
Additional information about Prevention and Early Intervention training in the Department is located on the following pages –