Assessing Family Strengths

Positive attributes that can be named as strengths:

  • Attending visits with their children
  • Keeping appointments
  • Being on time
  • Good personal appearance, hygiene.
  • Gifts for children
  • Attentiveness to children
  • Asking for information about their children
  • Giving information about their children
  • Good manners
  • Staying in touch with caseworker and sharing information
  • Obtaining and/or keeping income or apartment
  • Having a job or attending a job through welfare
  • Any special talents: singing, good language skills, good handwriting, typing
  • Involvement with religious institution or other organized group
  • Bilingualism
  • Family ties

Negative attributes that can be viewed as strengths:

  • Anger about foster care, being demanding about foster parent’s quality of care or caseworker’s work – shows that parent cares about child
  • Being “manipulative,” e.g., playing people off each other – shows intelligence, people skills, and goal-oriented behavior
  • Lack of openness, defensiveness, and stubbornness – shows good sense of self and boundaries, understandable, appropriate behavior/attitudes early in relationship with worker
  • Withdrawn, depressed behavior – appropriate response to removal of children, could indicate remorse, love for children

Source: Practice tips developed with families in the Families Together Project at SCO Family of Services

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