Fostering Resilience and Wellbeing in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters

ISBN : 9780199959525

Valerie Maholmes
240 Pages
163 x 238 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
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The number of children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty level increased by 33 percent between 2000 and 2009, resulting in over 15 million children living in poverty. Some of these children are able to overcome this dark statistic and break the intergenerational transmission of poverty, offering hope to an otherwise bleak outlook, but this raises the question-how? In Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty, Dr. Valerie Maholmes sheds light on the mechanisms and processes that enable children and families to manage and overcome adversity. She explains that research findings on children and poverty often unite around three critical factors related to risk for poverty-related adversity: family structure, the presence of buffers that can protect children from negative influences, and the association between poverty and negative academic outcomes, and social and behavioral problems. She discusses how the research on resilience can inform better interventions for these children, as poverty does not necessarily preclude children from having strengths that may protect against its effects. Importantly, Maholmes introduces the concept of "hope" as a primary construct for understanding how the effects of poverty can be ameliorated. At the heart of the book are interviews with family members who have experienced adversity but managed to overcome it through the support of targeted programs and evidence-based interventions. Student leaders provide unique perspectives on the important role that parents and teachers play in motivating youth to succeed. Finally, professionals who work with children and families share their observations on effective interventions and the roles of culture and spirituality in fostering positive outcomes. Excerpts from these interviews bring research to life and help call attention to processes that promote hope and resilience. This book will be invaluable for policymakers, educators, and community and advocacy groups, as well as scholars and students in family studies, human development, and social work.


Foreword by Elijah Cummings
About the Author
Chapter 1: Hope: The Motivation to Overcome Adversity
Chapter 2: Thriving in Adversity: Toward a Framework of Hope, Optimism, and Resilience
Chapter 3: Wired for Hope?: Examining our Capacity for Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience
Chapter 4: Parenting and Family Matters: Contrasting Parenting and Family Processes - Examining Family Strengths and Assets
Chapter 5: Do You Believe in Me? : Promoting Hope through Quality Education and Opportunities to Learn
Chapter 6: Friends and Mentors: The Protective Power of Relationships
Chapter 7: Empowering Neighborhoods and Communities to Foster Resilience
Chapter 8: Hope, Optimism, and Resilience: Cultural Frames of Reference
Chapter 9: Hope in Action: Stories of Overcoming, Motivation, and Striving toward Well-Being
Chapter 10: Why Hope (Still) Matters

About the author: 

Dr. Valerie Maholmes has devoted her career to studying factors that affect child developmental outcomes. Low-income minority children have been a particular focus of her research, practical, and civic work. She has been a faculty member at the Yale Child Study Center in the Yale School of Medicine where she held the Irving B. Harris Assistant Professorship of Child Psychiatry, an endowed professorial chair. While at Yale Dr. Maholmes worked in numerous capacities including Director of Research and Policy at the School Development Program. She has served on numerous professional boards and was also a member of the New Haven Board of Education where she served as Vice President/Secretary.

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