With our holistic, family strengthening approach, an effort is made to look at the individual’s total situation.
Individuals may come to a food pantry for a donation of food, but a closer investigation shows that lack of food is often only a small piece of the overall picture. For example, it could be that the individual needs a GED in order to qualify for a better job. Or perhaps a history of addiction leads to bad decisions. Sometimes there are other problems within the family structure that serve as a painful roadblock to the individual moving forward in the right direction. Three bags of groceries may temporarily stop hunger, but they are not going to address the totality of complex issues that individuals may face.
Each of us is a combination of strengths and weaknesses. In the past, helping agencies have focused primarily on problems, deficiencies, and needs. However, recent research suggests that the greatest progress may be achieved by focusing on the individual’s strengths. Focusing on the negative reinforces low expectations and creates dependencies. Conversely, a positive emphasis on resilience and protective factors/assets/strengths communicates a sense of hope, establishes expectations for success within an individual’s capacities, promotes empowerment and independence and sets in motion forces for improvement.
Family strengthening is about community partnership. In recent years much talk in the area of organizational development has focused on the “silo effect.” Within a large organization one unit (or silo) may exist as an independent silo and not be in communication with other units (silos) located right next door. Applying this concept to social services, agencies can work as independent and isolated organizations. They are not involved with other agencies within the community that offer similar or supportive services. Especially in the rural parts of our diocese, our Catholic parishes have forged very strong relationships with other agencies and with other churches. Much of their charity work is done through community organizations and ministerial alliances. Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri wants to continue this strong commitment to community cooperation.