Jesuit Social Services
Working with Families

Youth work and family work can operate effectively together, without losing the focus on the young person as the client. The facilitation and/or maintenance of family connections, and connections with other significant adults, should be a key goal of any intervention with a young person.

When/How to Involve Family Members

A sense of belonging or connectedness to family protects a young person from long-term adverse outcomes. This help sheet provides suggestions for when it may be appropriate to facilitate some family involvement in your work.
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Involving Disengaged Family Members

Supporting young people to build and improve family relationships, or at the least gain a greater understanding of difficult or absent connections with family members, is often particularly beneficial for young people. A family member may be more willing to re-engage in their relationship with the young person if they have some new strategies for doing so, and appropriate support.
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Talking to Families of Young People with Complex Needs

It is important to keep an open mind in regard to the level of influence that a family has had on a young person's needs or problems, and the extent to which they acted in good faith. Family members are likely to have strong feelings about what's happening for their young person, and may also be dealing with their own issues. Show family members respect, compassion, understanding, information and support in as many appropriate situations as possible.
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"I knew Ruby was up to something because her behaviour changed so radically. She started to become so secretive and defensive. We couldn't talk without arguing.
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