Characteristics and Trends in Family-Centered Conceptualizations

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Abstract: Early-intervention and early childhood professionals have long considered family-centered service delivery best practice. Exactly what family-centered practice means, however, remains unclear. The lack of consensus in defining family centeredness results in incongruence in the manner and degree to which professionals implement family centeredness. This review of the literature examines current conceptualizations of family-centered practice in an effort to determine whether there is a common definition; and, if so, how that definition has changed over the past decade. The authors found that, though the key elements of family centeredness (i.e., family as the unit of attention, family choice, family strengths, family-professional relationship, and individualized family services) have remained consistent, the emphasis has shifted from the family as the unit of attention to family-professional relationship and family choice. Implications for early intervention practice and research are discussed.

Related Topics

  • Child Welfare
  • Children 0-5
  • Children 6-19
  • Fathers/Partners
  • Parenting
  • Treatment Models