196125 Parents Talk about Family Support: A Conceptual Model of Transformative Spaces

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alina Bodea Crisan, MD, MPH , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Thistle I. Elias, MPA , Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
We will present a conceptual model that resulted from an in-depth qualitative, participatory study on the perspectives of parents involved in a community-based family focused support program. This participatory study represents a collaborative effort between parents involved in the Family Support movement and student researchers to explore how participation in Family Support impacted families. Parental perspectives and experiences were collected through in-depth individual and small group interviews, while photographs taken by family participants further explored their personal stories and journeys as parents involved in Family Support. Scholarly literature suggests the importance of family engagement in health and social services, but parents' opinions and thoughts about programs' processes, and their involvement in services are often absent from this literature. This study reveals parents' own explanations of their and their children's transformational experiences through involvement in Family Support programs. Parents spoke to how the program's essential principles, i.e., its relationship-based, respectful, participatory, strengths-based and community/neighborhood-based approach, along with its consistency and commitment over time are key to fostering a collective transformative space where parents and families grow and changes in ways that are self defined. The findings from this study offer insights for programs that provide community-based services to families and are grounded in the voices of parents who can speak to the types of services that help families make meaningful changes in their lives.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to identify what is beneficial to parents who receive services from community-based agencies.

Keywords: Participatory Research, Self-sufficiency and Empowerment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participate in all aspects of this research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.