Strength Based Model
KidsFirst NORTH is based on a strength based model. The strength based model is predicated on the belief that when parents’ capacities are supported they are more likely to act on their strengths. A belief in an individual’s inherent capacity for growth and well-being requires an increased attention to that person’s resources which includes their talents, experiences and aspirations. Through this active attention, the probability of positive growth is significantly enhanced.
Significant differences exist between the deficit based models and strength based models in working with families. Outlined below are some of those differences:
Deficit Based Approach Strength Based Approach
- Professional is the “expert” who will fix the problem.
- Parent and worker develop a partnership.
- Major focus on what is wrong, what is not working?
- Major focus on what families want and need.
- Major focus on what caused the situation.
- Major focus on parent strengths and capacities.
- Parents are told how to “treat” the problem.
- Workers support families in reaching goals families have identified.
** adapted from Pipestone Health District, Parenting Plus.
Strength Based Assumptions
The “strengths” perspective is based in the following assumptions:
- All parents want to be good parents.
- All people know what they want.
- People want to feel good and proud of themselves.
- Everyone has the potential to learn and change.
- Everyone is responsible for their actions and choices.
- Despite life’s problems, all people and environments possess strengths that can be used to improve the quality of a person’s life.
- Motivation is fostered by a consistent emphasis on strengths.
- Discovering strengths requires a process of co-operative exploration between the parent and Home Visitor.
- Focusing on strengths turns the worker’s attention away from the temptation to “blame the victim” and toward discovering how the parent managed to survive, even in the most difficult circumstances.
- People are more apt to take responsibility for solving their problems and their life circumstances when they are engaged in a process for choosing what it is they would like to work on and of figuring out what steps they think they will need to take to make progress.
** used with permission of Pipestone Health District, Parenting Plus