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Welcome from the Director

The Power of Family

Family life is the cauldron for healthy development across the lifespan. When families are loving, flexible, structured and adaptable, children grow up feeling the world is a safe place and that they are worthy of being loved and protected. Confidence about oneself and the world impacts one’s social, emotional, academic and neurobiological development. Children’s temperament, genetics, biology and health certainly contribute to their developmental, as well. But when parents are supportive, attentive, available, and protective, children have the greatest chance of meeting developmental milestones with success and reward. This is true across the lifespan when children become adults, and adults become parents and caregivers.

Unfortunately many families face adversities. Sometimes parents struggle with problems such as depression, medical problems, or marital conflicts leaving them less available to each other and their children and those they are caring for. Sometimes, children struggle with medical or mental health challenges and even the best parents are destabilized. Sometimes, contextual factors such as poverty, discrimination or marginalization lead to stressors that can make family life less organized and emotionally safe. Regardless of the origins of the stress, how families respond, adapt and overcome these challenges greatly determines the degree to which these adversities derail family development.

The Center for Family Intervention Science was established at Drexel University to support research that promotes family strengths and reduces family adversity, both within the family and the environment. Faculty approach this goal though interprofessional collaborations on research, education, and practice. We focus our work on understating how stress affects families, how families respond to these problems, and how health providers can mobilize family strengths to surmount these challenges. We work in a number of clinical environments including mental health, primary care, emergency rooms, schools, and communities. In these contexts, we aim to understand how the organization of services contributes to family health and well-being. But regardless of the treatment context, or the age of the clients, investigators at the Center are unified by a common goal: mobilizing family strengths and resources in the service of providing a healthier and safer developmental context for infants, children, adolescents, adults and older family members.

Guy Diamond, PhD
Director, Center for Family Intervention Science