Book Review: Simmonds, J. (2006). Children in change: A group curriculum for kids ages 8-14 who are experiencing family change. Minneapolis, MN: Family & Children’s Service, 77 pp. (paperback).
Quinn, Camille R.
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The home lives of children have changed considerably over the past few decades. There has been an increase in the numbers of children born to single and/or divorced parents and children spending a portion of their childhood in single-parent households (Mare & Winship, 1991). Children whose parents live separately are often disadvantaged as compared to children whose parents live together (Amato, 1994) and given that the current rate of divorce for firsttime American marriages is 50 percent it is more likely that children will face challenges. In addition, the number of children born into cohabitating families is increasing. As a consequence, about two-fifths of all children spend some time in a cohabiting family, and the greater instability of families begun by cohabitation means that children are also more likely to experience family disruption (Bumpass & Lu, 2000). For all of these children, mastery is an ongoing task that requires special tools and preparation. Therefore, the prevalence of family change and the potential effects on children requires our attention and effective methods must be emphasized to assist children in becoming successful. Social workers would be remiss if they use one-dimensional clinical approaches when treating children with these experiences. Also, comprehensive interventions and guidelines that address the full spectrum of children’s needs should be utilized. The book covered in this review has attempted to provide a curriculum including several techniques specially designed for children experiencing changes in their home lives.