Promoting Family and System Capacity

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Course Code
SOWK 4233
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course prepares students to work with individuals and communities in the identification and implementation of short- and long-term goals and strategies. Students will focus on goals and strategies that are consistent with sustainable, preventative social work practices for those involved in formal systems of support and related social services such as mental health, addictions, corrections, and child welfare. Students will also develop the skills and resources necessary to encourage families to take the lead to develop culturally appropriate goals and strategies, and to work critically and collaboratively with families and interdisciplinary communities of professionals in the assessment, planning and review of services.
Course Content

Course content will be guided by research, empirical knowledge and best practice. The following values and principles, consistent with professional standards, inform course content:

  • Professional involvement with individuals, families, and communities includes immediate and long-term planning to develop sustainable support and prevention strategies, and to ensure safety.
  • Goals and strategies are developed in partnership and consultation with stakeholders and with consideration of consequences throughout a system.
  • Effective communication and social work interventions with families requires:
    • An awareness of the professional role and its responsibilities.
    • The application of advanced communication skills.
    • Knowledge and application of evidence based approaches to working with families (e.g. motivational interviewing, relational practice, strengths based, systems theory).
    • The capacity to communicate and collaborate with professional networks.
    • The capacity for critical self-reflection when working with families and colleagues.
  • Ethical practice includes critical self-appraisal of working with culturally diverse groups.
  • Social workers are responsible for the accurate and fair application of the legislation and policy underpinning intervention.
  • An understanding of the legacy of colonization is essential in providing culturally appropriate interventions when working with Aboriginal families.
Learning Activities

Group exercises
Student presentations
Use of multimedia resources.

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of any of the following:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Projects
  • Participation.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Identify knowledge, skills, competencies and other elements of interprofessional and cross-agency expertise.  Knowing when, where and how to involve those others through agreed channels to achieve sustainable child and family-centred goals, support, and safety for families and community.
  2. Understand when and how to work with other professions and organizations to coordinate and review services through the facilitation of interprofessional case conferences, meetings, team working and networking.
  3. Apply theories of organizational change to work within and in partnership with organizations and systems.
  4. Apply a range of practical and interpersonal skills required for effective, immediate and long-term engagement and planning with individuals, families, and groups to achieve positive change, develop resilience, resolve conflict, achieve goals and to prevent relapse.
  5. Show awareness and creative application of a resource base of family and community supports, agencies and information resources for developing support strategies.
  6. Identify characteristics and implement strategies for working with individuals, families and communities who are hard to engage and to reflect on implications for practice when working with aggression or resistance.
  7. Critically reflect on the implications of assessment and planning in various settings such as home visits, in-patient or group facilitation in the community.
  8. Demonstrate critical awareness of the evidence base, legal framework and policy related to working with individuals, families, and groups through effective assessment and case planning.
  9. Apply a collaborative and strengths based approach to assessment, case planning and case management.
  10. Articulate a sense of personal self-awareness, the values and ethics of the profession, and sensitivity in working with diversity and culture to bring about social justice.
  11. Demonstrate a critical awareness to manage the ‘power differential’ between professionals and families requiring support.
Textbook Materials

Text(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

Dulmus, C., Sowers, K. and Holosko, M. (2013). Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families: Evidence-Informed Assessments and Interventions. New York: Wiley.
Hepworth, D., Rooney, R., Rooney, G., Strom-Gottfried, K. and Larsen, J. (2006). Direct social work practice: Theory and skills (7th ed.) Belmont, CA: Brooks Cole.
Lishman, J. (2009). Communication in Social Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Webb, S. (2005) Social Work in a Risk Society: Social and Cultural Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.







Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for SOWK 4233
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2023