This course provides students with an overview of characteristics of the family which includes recognizing the strengths and challenges of the family, and the ways that Developmental Service Workers can create partnerships with families to provide family centered supports, programs, and services. Students will examine the meaning of the concept "family" and the characteristics of family within the context of a Family Systems model. The meaning of cultural competence from a historical and diversity perspective will be explored. Students will learn about traditional and evolving family roles and functions; as well as, contemporary topics such as love and marriage, parenthood, work and family life, poverty, stress and violence. Working with families within a collaborative team approach to achieve positive outcomes will be addressed. Students will explore social policy, legislation, and the types of services available to people with developmental disabilities and their families in Ontario.