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Empowerment practice is an approach to help marginalized families reduce their sense of powerlessness. The present study explores empowerment practice with a sample of low-income African American custodial grandmothers. It specifically describes how the effects of a strengths-based community service program influenced caregivers’ sense of empowerment. Using the Family Empowerment Scale, the results suggest that the service intervention supports the empowerment dimensions and three subscales (knowledge, advocacy, and self-efficacy); the results did not support the competency subscale. Although all age groups experienced an increase in empowerment, older grandmothers had significant differences in perceptions regarding social systems, as well as a sense of competency as compared with younger grandmothers. Implications for service delivery and future research are presented.


This article was originally published in Families in Society and is made available here with permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2011 the Alliance for Children and Families.

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