Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social service -- Oregon -- Multnomah County, Father and child



Physical Description

1 online resouce (71 pages)


This is a descriptive, partially exploratory study which examined the date obtained from interviews with socials workers in selected social welfare programs in regard to the father in treatment. Explored were descriptive information concerning the agency's characteristics, the type and extend of treatment offered, the involvement or resistance of the father in therapy, and the provision made for a surrogate male model in the event of the father's absence.

The literature revealed that currently there is a growing body of knowledge and theory related to the father's role in the psychosocial development of the child and the consequences of his absence. It might be noted that in the past more attention has been given in theory and research to the mother's role.

Through personal interviews with one professional social worker in each of eighteen selected programs in Multnomah County data were obtained with a data collection schedule used as a guide.

The findings indicated that the father was interested in his child's development and more willing to participate in treatment than is generally appreciated.

Although the philosophy and policy of all of the agencies recognized the importance of the father in therapy, in actual practice only a minority had been able to implement this in treatment to an extensive degree due to the lack of staff time and training. A few programs, however, did report a ratio of staff to clients which enabled them to sustain the father and his family in intensive, meaningful therapy.

There are indications that more flexible agency hours need to be implemented to better enable social workers to involve the father.

An emerging emphasis on innovative new methods such as total family group therapy which tends to involve the father in therapy, was reflected in the study. The data indicated that several agencies in the last few years have begun to use new methods to a significant degree, with the leadership of trained social work therapists, and that other agencies are using new methods in a moderate degree or are planning to implement these methods in the near future. The majority of agencies did recognize the need for the use of substitute male models, in some cases of father absence, but they found few available resources for the provision of this service.

Although this was a general, descriptive paper only, some trends in practice regarding the father did emerge. Indications are that the father has a vital interest in his child's development, that he has shown an increasing willingness to become involved in therapy, and that there is a growing emphasis, in agencies, for the use of new treatment methods which emphasize the involvement of the father.


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