Research Article: Analysing family service needs of typically underserved families in the USA
Samuel, P. S., Hobden, K. L., LeRoy, B. W. and Lacey, K. K. (2012), Analysing family service needs of typically underserved families in the USA. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56: 111–128. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01481.x
Background Present day service systems evolved from the traditional model of disability intervention where the child with the disability and the family were viewed as pathological entities that needed to be fixed rather than supported. Scholars have increasingly called for a greater focus on the family in service delivery, but few studies have empirically examined the practical reality of such a shift. The present paper examines the disability-related formal service supports within the family quality of life (FQOL) framework in a sample of predominantly low-income, minority families in the USA.
Methods Cross-sectional data collected from a convenience sample of 149 families using the Family Quality of Life Survey (FQOLS-2006) was analysed at the univariate, bivariate and multivariate levels.
Results Over half of the families indicated that they needed more help from the service system, and the largest barrier to accessing services was a lack of information. Almost all families viewed service support as very important to their overall FQOL; however, only half of them were satisfied with the formal support that they were receiving. Less than half of the families reported having many service support opportunities and high attainment of service support, although most took high initiative in pursuing formal supports. The path model illustrated the complex inter-relationships between the six dimensions of service support.
Conclusions Findings underscore the need for resources to empower families and the value of using the FQOLS-2006 to ascertain the service support needs and strengths of families.
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