Familiness and responsiveness of human services. The Approach of Relational Sociology

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In the last few years, the need to focus on families and to involve them in working out solutions for their problems has gained momentum largely in studies on welfare and human services, within the relational sociology frame. According to such theoretical approach human services should never target isolated individuals, since every beneficiary is a subject embedded within a network of relations, beginning with the family. Empowering family relationships is crucial because in most cases families have the resources to deal responsively with their members’ problems: families in fact can flexibly adapt to face everyday life complexity. Nevertheless, despite much of the current literature proclaiming itself family-centred, there is still need for a sound theoretical perspective to frame and assess the huge range of evidence-based criteria. The relational sociology perspective has provided a model to analyse human services, with respect to their closeness or distance to a responsive family-centred approach. The aim of this chapter is a) to review the main literature concerning theories of family-centered and responsive practices, b) to outline the theoretical framework of the relational sociology, c) to draw up a pilot model to analyze the responsiveness and family centeredness of human services, based on the relational sociology. The case of the Family Group Conference will serve as an example to show how restorative justice practices are very close to a responsive family centered approach.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteRestorative and Responsive Human Services
EditorG Burford, V Braithwaite, J Braithwaite
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Family group conference
  • familiness
  • family impact
  • human services
  • relational sociology
  • responsiveness
  • social capital


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