#10310

I agree that familial relations can serve as both a protective and a risk factor as they contribute to both genetic and environmental factors. However, I believe it is important to distinguish between individual familial relations rather than discussing “family” at large. Oftentimes specific family members may serve as protective and positive relationships while others may be involved in traumatic or harmful relations with the client. The family, especially in contexts of child protection removals, is important to be understood as a constellation of distinct relations with differing impacts on the individual client. These relationships must further be understood as dynamic protective and risk factors– they may simultaneously represent risk and support in a myriad of distinct ways (such as connection to culture and identity, as well as environmental stressors) and as holding the potential to evolve over time. I believe in practice it is necessary to complicate our understanding of both protective and risk factors, asking ourselves as clinicians in what ways do these factors and relationships meet the needs of our clients and in what ways might they simultaneously inflict harm. Understanding the tensions in these dynamic relations allows us to better serve our clients and understand their motivations and needs more fully.