Spring 2018

Document Type

Poster Session


Social Work


Paula Gerstenblatt, PhD


family, identity, children, Child Protective Services, CPS, University of Southern Maine, Thinking Matters Symposium


Family identity construction and the socially accepted definition of family have evolved over time. From the idyllic nuclear family of the 1950s to the contemporary examples that include step parents, grandparents, same sex parents and legal guardians have transformed the way family is conceptualized. The current research is typically concerned with creating an operational definition of family, particularly for divorced families; however, there is a gap in the research focused on how children experience and identify with family identity construction. This is especially consequential for children who have been removed from their family home by child protective services. This narrative study delves deeply into the story of one child who was removed from her home to gain an understanding of the experience of CPS removal and how this singular exploration represents a larger collective narrative. Grounded by family systems theory and attachment theory, findings will help inform social work practice, research and policy.

Start Date

4-20-2018 9:00 AM



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