Family and Whanau Dynamics

Course code 77331

Using an ecological systems perspective this course will enable you to assess and apply positive, strengths-based approaches for working in partnership with families and whanāu. It will consider methods for assessing resilience and risks – including risks from child abuse, neglect and family violence – and positive approaches to promoting and supporting family and whānau wellbeing. In planning to intervene, you will be able to take into account social, economic, cultural and spiritual contexts.

How to enrol

Before enrolling in this course you need to:

  • Choose the qualification you will study the course under. See the Work towards tab below for qualification options.
  • Check the order that courses in the qualification should be studied in the Qualification Structure table. This is in the Choose courses tab on the qualification page.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to

  • Analyse the dynamics of family and whānau taking into account community, social, economic, cultural and spiritual factors
  • Critically assess protective and risk factors for family and whānau including risks from child abuse, neglect and family violence
  • Propose positive strengths–based approaches to supporting, promoting and protecting family and whānau wellbeing

Course content includes

  • Ecological and systems based perspectives
  • Using ecomaps and genograms
  • The importance of whakapapa and social connectedness
  • The dynamics of Whanaungatanga including Mātua Whangai
  • Attachment, family relationships and family dynamics
  • The cultural context of family life
  • Families, caring and gender and sexual identity and orientation
  • Identifying and assessing resilience and risk factors
  • Promoting resilience, identification of protective factors and managing risk
  • Child abuse, neglect and family violence
  • Strengths-based practice with family and whānau 
  • Out of family care
  • The children of prisoners
  • The wider social network and community context – including social capital and social networks
  • Skills to critically appraise research including ethical and cultural considerations


This course is 100% internally assessed


There is a textbook required for this course. Visit our textbook page for more information.