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Home    >    Multisystem Skills and Interventions in School Social Work Practice
Multisystem Skills and Interventions in School Social Work Practice
Edith M. Freeman, Cynthia G. Franklin, Rowena Fong, Gary L. Shaffer, and Elizabeth M. Timberlake, Editors
ISBN: 978-0-87101-295-1. 1998. Item #2952. 492 pages.

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This book covers new multisystem interventions that work on all levels, from school to family to community agencies to the policy level. Five sections and 45 chapters explore strategies for areas of current challenge, including

  • Curbing aggressive behavior in childhood

  • Improving attendance in at-risk children in elementary school

  • Empowering families through cooperative preschool education

  • Working with teenagers with ADHD

  • Preventing youth suicide

  • Participating in a traumatic event debriefing

  • Preventing substance abuse in middle school

In addition, Multisystem Skills and Interventions gives examples of larger system and policy interventions, in chapters that include HIV/AIDS policy development and reform, Medicaid managed care and urban poor people, and more.

Special Features

  • Practice-oriented, with many case examples

  • Addresses all levels of practice from a systems approach

  • Includes strategies for new areas of concern, such as violence and aggression in schools

Paula Allen-Meares

Edith M. Freeman, Cynthia G. Franklin, Rowena Fong, Gary L. Shaffer, and Elizabeth M. Timberlake

Part I: Skills and Interventions for Practice with Individuals

How to Interview for Client Strengths
Peter De Jong and Scott D. Miller

The Getting Better Phenomenon: Videotape Applications of Previously At-Risk High School Student Narratives
Glenn Carley

Female Gang Members: A Profile of Aggression and Victimization
Christian E. Molidor

A Critical Review of Strategies to Reduce School Violence
Rudolph Alexander, Jr., and Carla M. Curtis

A Comprehensive Afrocentric Rites of Passage Program for Black Male Adolescents
Aminifu R. Harvey and Julia B. Rauch

Addressing the Needs of Foster Children: The Foster Youth Services Program
Robert H. Ayasse

Decelerating Self-Stimulating and Self-Injurious Behaviors of a Student with Autism: Behavioral Intervention in the Classroom
Barbara Peo Early

Using Portfolios to Assess Students’ Academic Strengths: A Case Study
Jean C. Karoly and Cynthia G. Franklin

Aggressive Behavior in Childhood and Early Adolescence: An Ecological-Developmental Perspective on Youth Violence
Mark W. Fraser

Nonconvulsive Seizure Disorders: Importance and Implications for School Social Workers
Diane Kistner and Kevin L. DeWeaver

Part II: Skills and Interventions for Practice with Families

Engaging Effectively with Culturally Diverse Families and Children
Frances S. Caple, Ramon M. Salcido, and John di Cecco

Techniques for Assessing Family-School Connections
Carolyn B. Pryor

Socialization Issues for Chinese American Children and Families
Rowena Fong and David Y. H. Wu

Early Intervention to Improve Attendance in Elementary School for At-Risk Children: A Pilot Program
Janet Ford and Richard D. Sutphen

Supporting and Empowering Families through Cooperative Preschool Education
Katherine M. Dunlap

School Social Workers as Family Therapists: A Dialectical-Systemic-Constructivist Model
Gilbert J. Greene, Dorothy Harper Jones, Cara Frappier, Martha Klein, and Barbara Culton

The Link between Childhood Maltreatment and Teenage Pregnancy
Carolyn A. Smith

Factors Associated with Early Sexual Activity among Urban Adolescents
Carolyn A. Smith

Outcomes of Mandated Preventive Services Programs for Homeless and Truant Children: A Follow-up Study
Diane Tirado-Lampert and James A. Twaite

Part III: Skills for Practice with Groups and Classrooms

Social Work with Groups and the Performing Arts in the Schools
Flavio Francisco Marsiglia and Marjorie Witt Johnson

Assessment and Prevention of Aggressive Behavior among Youths of Color: Integrating Cultural and Social Factors
Jorge Delva

A Model for School Social Work Facilitation of Teacher Self-Efficacy and Empowerment
Rosemary O’Connor and Wynne S. Korr

Group Work with High-Risk Urban Youths on Probation
Harriet Goodman and William Ford

Group Support for Teenagers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
David F. Timmer

Honoring Children’s Narratives: Practice Strategies
Edith M. Freeman

School Violence: A Blueprint for Elementary School Interventions
Ron A. Astor

The Many Faces of Violence: Policy and Practice Implications
Edith M. Freeman

Traumatic Event Debriefing: Service Delivery Designs and the Role of Social Work
Janet L. Bell

Part IV: Skills and Interventions in Community Practice

Everything I Know about Consultation: Implications for Community Practice
Edith M. Freeman

School Social Workers Are a Critical Part of the Link
Cynthia G. Franklin and Paula Allen-Meares

Children in Protective Services: The Missing Educational Link for Children in Kinship Networks
Barbara Rittner and Arlene Sacks

Maintaining Positive School Relationships: The Role of the Social Worker vis-à-vis Full-Service Schools
Jill Duerr Berrick and Mark Duerr

Homeless Children and Their Families: Delivery of Educational and Social Services through School Systems and Communities
Jack C. Wall

Using a Lawyer-Doctor Education Team for Substance Abuse Prevention in a Middle School
Lynne E. Orens, Lori J. Brady, and John E. McIntosh, Jr.

The School’s and Community’s Role in the Prevention of Youth Suicide
Brenda Robinson Ward

Part V: Skills and Interventions with Larger Systems and Policy Development and Reform

HIV/AIDS Policy Development and Reform: Lessons from Practice, Research, and Education
Edith M. Freeman, Marion Halim, and K. Jean Peterson

Medicaid Managed Care and Urban Poor People: Implications for Social Work
Janet D. Perloff

School Reform: Linking Public Schools with Human Services
Cynthia G. Franklin and Calvin L. Streeter

Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: IDEA, Part H
Edward J. Saunders

Funding School-Linked Services through Grants: A Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing
Nancy Feyl Chavkin

Combining Mental Health Treatment with Education for Preschool Children with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Problems
Cathryne L. Schmitz and Alan Hilton

Appropriate versus Least Restrictive: Educational Policies and Students with Disabilities
James C. Raines

Regulating School Social Work Practice into the 21st Century
Isadora Hare

The Status of School Social Workers in America
Santos Torres, Jr.

About the Editors
About the Contributors
This compilation of articles – authored by leading writers, practitioners, academicians, and advocates – is an excellent addition to the rich literature on the interface of social work and education. Over the course of this 20th century, we have seen social work practice in schools expand in directions that have reflected new knowledge. The entire field of child and adolescent development has emerged. Multiple theories have arisen about how schools should respond to both internal forces, such as changing demographics, and external forces, such as taxpayer demands for greater fiscal accountability in education and legislative mandates for inclusion of vulnerable groups of pupils and families in regular education services. There have been shifting views on how communities evolve over time, given their financial and human capital resources and their migratory patterns. Clearly, during the next century we will continue to witness even more profound transformations in the school and in society, spurred on by advances in information technology and by changing employment opportunities in the labor market, including the displacement of workers who are employed in today’s traditional occupations.

In keeping with the ecological perspective that serves as the grounding framework of this book, no level of practice or size of systems is ignored; large, intermediate, and small systems are presented as targets of change and as repositories of resources. To promote positive developmental and learning outcomes and to create functional health support systems for children and their families, 21st-century school social work practitioners will need knowledge about a spectrum of multilevel interventions. These social workers will be expanding approaches to classrooms and small groups, empowering groups, finding ways to improve and sustain community development, strategizing about multicultural organizing, writing grant applications and proposals, advocating in political and legislative arenas, and creating processes to link support systems and integrate social work services on behalf of children and families.

The chapters presented in this book cover the breadth of social work practice with school-age children and their families as well as the multiple and complex systems in which these clients interact functionally and dysfunctionally. The authors do not shy away from the needs of vulnerable groups of children: those who are truant, homeless, or have disabilities; students of color; victims of sexual and physical abuse; those who are HIV-positive or are battling full-blown AIDS; and those who feel great emotional despair and contemplate suicide.

Multisystem Skills and Interventions in School Social Work Practice is grounded in a strengths-based perspective that replaces our pathology preoccupation with a focus on the normative. It offers proactive techniques for practitioners to draw on for individual and systemic change.

Paula Allen-Meares, PhD
Dean and Professor
School of Social Work
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The school social work field is in a major transition as a result of momentous changes in many important areas. Public education has undergone numerous shifts in its curricula, programs, and policies. The reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) by the 105th Congress concerning inclusion (P.L. 101-476) and the requirements to serve children with disabilities from birth to age five (P. L. 99-457) are but two recent examples of significant policy changes in education. A number of social welfare policy reforms have developed that are affecting the quantity and quality of health, mental health, child welfare, and economic resources available to meet the needs of children and families. Such changes will influence the role of schools – and that of school social workers – in addressing those needs when they affect family functioning and students’ school performance.

Technological advances, including management information systems and social and medical life supports for children with disabilities, now allow schools to better educate and monitor the special needs of students and the effectiveness of specialized services in meeting those needs. Within the profession of social work itself, there has been a renewed emphasis on implementing a strengths perspective and empowerment ideals for helping clients resolve environmental and social justice issues. Indeed, there is a movement within the profession to modify its language so that it is more consistent with these values. Some social workers are now using the term "consumer" instead of "client" and have replaced problem-oriented terms, such as "treatment" and "diagnosis," with concepts of solution-focused practice, such as "miracle questions" and "exceptions to the problem."

These changes are substantive. Along with the related transition in school social work, they represent opportunities and risks, both to the field and to the children and families it serves. Opportunities include using this transition to study the shifting needs of children, families, schools, and communities and to implement the skills necessary for effective practice in this new era. The risks, often associated with periods of great change, involve ignoring and denying the emerging needs and adopting a "status quo" philosophy by continuing to use strategies that are ineffective in addressing those needs.

Multisystem Skills and Interventions in School Social Work Practice offers school social workers the opportunity to increase their understanding of the emerging needs of students, families, schools, and communities and of the skills and competencies necessary for working effectively with these consumers collectively. To facilitate this process, the book is organized into five sections that contain chapters primarily focused on practice at various systems levels, including practice with individuals, families, groups and classrooms, communities, and large systems and also policy. Thus, it emphasizes skills and competencies in school-community practice from a systems perspective, a resource that school social workers around the country have requested repeatedly.

The book’s other features include

  • a view of children-families-schools-communities as consumers and equal partners and stakeholders in defining and resolving issues of concern
  • a strengths-based, solution-focused approach to assessment and intervention
  • a problem-relevant but non-pathology-oriented focus on the normative and non-normative issues that children and families encounter
  • an ecological perspective that requires a combination of simultaneous multisystems interventions for effectiveness
  • creativity in addressing social justice issues in a variety of situations that delimit the opportunities and hopes of children and families related to their disabling conditions, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic status, or geographic location
  • an emphasis on comprehensive early intervention and prevention services that are accessible in the school, in the community, or in both areas.

These features and the range of diverse chapters in this book should make it useful to school social workers and community practitioners with varying years of practice experience. Beginning practitioners can use it as a guide for developing an effective foundation for practice, and more experienced practitioners can use it as a tool for helping hone their existing practice skills. The book can be used by graduate and undergraduate schools of social work as a text for courses in school social work, child and family specializations, community practice, direct practice, and – particularly related to its systems perspective – for human behavior in the social environment courses. It can be a resource to helping professionals in other fields as well, such as school counselors, school psychologists, clinical and community psychologists, psychiatric nurses, mental health professionals, and preventionists.

As school social workers and other professionals use this reader to transition into the 21st century, Multisystem Skills and Interventions in School Social Work Practice may become a benchmark for noting a historical shift in children’s and families’ needs and related services. Benchmarks often reflect an uncommon awareness of some of the current forces that signal change while characteristically offering a vision of future possibilities and dreams. We believe this reader more than fulfills these criteria of change.
Edith M. Freeman, PhD, is professor, University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, Lawrence. She has an MSW from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and a PhD from the Departments of Psychology and Human Development and Family Life. She has practiced as a medical and school social worker and has been published in the area of school-community practice. She was the editor of Social Work in Education from 1993 to 1997.

Cynthia G. Franklin, PhD, LMSW-ACP, is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work, where she teaches courses on clinical practice and research. She has numerous publications on school social work, clinical assessment, practice theories, and child and family practice. She is coauthor (with Dr. Catheleen Jordan) of the books Clinical Assessment for Social Workers: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods and Family Practice: Brief Systems Methods for Social Work and is coeditor (with Dr. Paula Nurius) of the book Constructivism in Practice: Methods and Challenges. She also serves as editor-in-chief of Social Work in Education.

Rowena Fong, MSW, EdD, is associate professor, Social of Social Work, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. She has an MSW from the University of California at Berkeley and an EdD from Harvard University. She has served on the editorial boards of Social Work in Education and Multicultural Social Work.

Gary L. Shaffer, PhD, is associate professor and director of field education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has an MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of the editorial board of Social Work in Education.

Elizabeth M. Timberlake, DSW, BCD, is ordinary professor of social work at the Catholic University of America. She teaches clinical social work with children and adolescents, advanced clinical research, practice model development, and philosophical issues in social work knowledge development. Her publications target clinical interventions, school social work, children, personnel issues, and social work education. Her current research addresses the biopsychosocial functioning of homeless children and families and participants in Early Head Start (also, federally funded program evaluation). She has served on the editorial boards of Social Thought, Child and Adolescent Social Work, Social Work in Education, and Clinical Social Work.