This group is led by professor Maria Angela Mattar Yunes and consists of relationships among Brazilian and foreign researchers and students and professionals in the humanities and social sciences. These members are interested in researching and intervening in matters relating to children, adolescents and families who live in situations of personal, environmental and social risk. Its investigations and interventions are based on Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theoretical and methodological bio-ecology approach and on the concepts originated by the Positive Psychology movement. This group is especially interested in investigating the phenomenon of individual, parental, family and community resilience. The group aims to use academic research and academic teaching to meet the needs of the community and promote collective well-being, dignity and quality of life for the people with whom it works.
The group’s primary objectives are to create opportunities to educate and promote the development of people living at risk as a result of economic, social and cultural conditions of deprivation and poverty; to research the potential of psychoeducational interventions that improve the reflexive practices of social professionals; to research and focus on positive social interventions, i.e., to emphasize the healthy psychological aspects of human development.
The group also maintains a database of updated references to studies and projects about children, adolescents, families and at-risk populations that is accessible to the entire community; subsidizes the projects and interventions of institutions that work with the target population; advises agencies responsible for implementing public policy; and informs and trains students and social professionals to interact in responsible and critical ways with their communities of origin. Seminars, forums, meetings and study groups have been organized to systematically integrate scientific results with the everyday social practices of the institutions.
Several investigations have been developed and published involving activities and themes related to the following topics: methods of family and parental education; training methodologies for social educators; strengthening connections among families, schools and communities; methodologies for mapping and addressing cases of domestic violence, infant sexual exploitation and the physical and sexual abuse of children and adolescents; studying the effects of drug use and evaluating the effectiveness of social programs for the prevention of addictions; supporting and developing new social technologies to create effective positive interventions.
These projects are developed in the following centers of research and intervention: The Center of Psychological Studies on Street Children (CEP-Rua); The Center of Reference for Family Issues (CRAF); The Center of Studies and Attention to Families (NEAF).