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Families: Change and Development

Course Code: CSSW 2333
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Community Social Service Work
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

In this course students examine families from a systems perspective. Starting with students’ own families, participants are offered tools to use in understanding and reflecting on their own family experience and its impact on professional practice. The concepts of family strengths, diversity, natural support networks, community, social context and culture are examined. Emphasis is placed on the collaborative and supportive roles that social service workers have with families.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Ability to reflect on one’s own family experience is central to understanding the potential impact of one’s values, beliefs, and attitudes on practice.
  • Diversity exists between individuals and between and within families, communities and cultures. All families have strengths.
  • The professional role of CSSW practitioners is generally one of support which is only possible through collaboration.
  • Families develop through life transitions which present opportunities for change.
  • Stress has a significant impact on family development. 
  • Reflective practice is an essential goal of competent practitioners. 

Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures
  • Group work
  • Experiential classroom activities
  • Guest speakers
  • Audio-visual presentations

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:

  • Research papers
  • Self assessment
  • Classroom activity participation
  • Examination

This is a letter graded course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Conduct primary, personal research on own family experience
    • Construct multigenerational family genogram, examine family history for themes and patterns and present written analysis of learning.
  2. Develop an understanding of the relationship between individual development and family dynamics
    • Describe and apply theoretical frameworks (e.g., family life cycle and family systems theory) to personal history
  3. Think critically about families in context
    • Examines family from macro and micro perspectives
    • Describe impact of gender, culture, socio-economic status and stress of families
    • Examine the impact of social networks on families
    • Apply family systems theory to families
    • Demonstrate relevance of diversity in families
  4. Describe professional role of social service workers with client families
    • Demonstrate respect for families
    • Demonstrate understanding of the variables that are used to assess family level of need
    • Examine own values and attitudes towards families
    • Understand the importance of accepting that family may have many different structures in addition to the traditional nuclear form
    • Understand the supportive role of the social service worker
  5. Examine the nature of crisis, stress and change from a family systems perspective
    • Apply theoretical models of crisis, stress and change in families
    • Explain social service worker’s role with families in crisis
  6. Examine importance of self-awareness in reflective practice
    • Explain how one’s own family background shapes both personal life and approach to working with others
    • Describe how the conscious use of self is part of one’s own professional practice model

course prerequisites

CFCS 1130

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.