Ideas About What Constitutes A Family In Australia Has

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Ideas about what constitutes a family in Australia has changed throughout history (Featherstone & Smaal, 2013). As a result, a wide range of social, cultural and historical changes have influenced family social work today (Collins, Jordan & Coleman, 2013). This essay will explore social and cultural changes in Australia over the past fifty years and how these particular changes affect social work practice within families, young people and children. In addition, this essay will provide a personal reflection of the author’s family experiences, and how these experiences will influence the author’s social work practice with children, young people and families. This personal reflection will also identify the strengths that the author holds in…show more content…
Bengtson (2001) states that due to an increase in single-parent families resulting from divorce, there is an increase in children becoming victims of poverty when living in female-headed families. According to Popnoe (as cited in Bengtson, 2001) the increase in economical struggles and decline in the overall well-being of children in mother-headed families has been strongly correlated with the absence of fathers in families today. Furthermore, the negative consequences of divorce on children and young people has also been prominently discussed in literature. Howe (1999) states that in the 1996 census, the number of children of divorce was the highest ever in Australia. Studies reveal that for many children, an initial trauma lasting for a year occurs after the parents have divorced (Howe, 1999). In addition, young people from divorced families have reported experiencing lower levels of satisfaction with various dimensions of life and higher levels of psychological distress and depression (Chase-Landsdale, Cherlin, & Kiernan, 1995). Social work practice, therefore recognises the need to accept diversity in families and the effect that changing family structures can have on the social, economical and psychological well-being of children, young people and families. “Australia has a unique history that has formed the diversity of its peoples, their cultures and lifestyle today” (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2011, p. 1). ABS (2011) report states that Australia
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