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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: November 2011

27 - Evolution of Family–Professional Partnerships: Collective Empowerment as the Model for the Early Twenty-First Century


In this chapter we present four models of parent–professional partnerships, including a discussion of the power relationships within each. The approaches that we discuss include 1) parent counseling/psychotherapy, 2) family involvement, 3) family-centered services, and 4) collective empowerment. The research and professional literature upon which we base our analysis is drawn from the early childhood special education field. That literature has been constructed primarily since the 1950s with a focus on young children with developmental disabilities. Family–professional partnership trends in other areas of early childhood services have differed from those that we are presenting; however, it is beyond the scope of a single chapter to analyze partnership models within all early childhood fields.

We begin the chapter with a discussion of the type of power – power-over, power-with, and power-through – that are generally inherent in each of the four family–professional partnership models. The models are further portrayed through the use of a what-might-have-been vignette. We begin the chapter with a vignette of an imaginary family, one that prototypically might be known to any service provider. As we discuss each of the models and the power relationships within those models, we suggest how that model may have been brought to bear on that family.

Jeanette A. is a 37-year-old African American woman who lives in a community of approximately 65,000 people in an eastern state. Her daughter, Tisha, was born at 26 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces.

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Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention
  • Online ISBN: 9780511529320
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