THE HIERARCHY AND TYPOLOGY OF FAMILY SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORKS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
This article examines the importance of family social support networks and their implications for social services. Social support networks are a significant factor in effective assistance to families. This research uses an integrated strategy and factor analysis to identify stakeholders of social support services and the extent in which these services are considered important by families in terms of solving their problems. Our findings show that assistance to families is expected in three levels. The first involves direct interpersonal relationships (between family members and friends) and when this level fails, the network of professionals and experts is the next provider. An effective network of support services to families "stands and falls" with active family relationships. Where family relationships are absent or dysfunctional, they are compensated by second and third levels of this support. In a developed network of support services, social workers should have tools available to support all three levels. In view of these findings, a trend emphasizing approaches in favor of families solving their own problems rather than professional dominance of such is worth investigating.
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