Volume 16, Issue 4 (1987)
Referring Families to Nonschool Agencies: A Family Systems Approach
Jeffery P. Braden, Peter A.D. Sherrard
ABSTRACT: School psychologists often refer families to non-school agencies for service s, such as family therapy. Although most referrals result in services, 20 to 50% of families fail to follow through on referrals (Zins & Hopkins, 1981). In this article, we explore the premise that family systems factors influence the likelihood of referral follow-up and success. Family systems theories describing how families support child behavior problems and how family hierarchies influence the decision to follow through on referrals are discussed. Because the burden for referral follow through is on the family, psychologists who ignore family systems parameters reduce the likelihood of referral success. It is recommended that school psychologists identify family hierarchies, negotiate support for referral s from family decision-maker(s), and establish a supra-system spanning family and school systems to increase referral efficacy.
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