Do I have to use Head of Household and Spouse to describe members?

Submitted by Dean Phelps on Thu, 01/17/2019 - 09:15

Short answer: No.

CDM+ has always been designed with flexibility that allows you to customize the terminology in the database to the way you think, work, and talk. CDM+ out of the box has Family Status codes for Head of Household, Spouse, and Child. Although some communities are quite comfortable with this language, others are not. CDM+ gives you the ability to use codes for family status that are appropriate for your community and your context.

For example, you may want to use Adult for all adult members of a household. If you want to make such a change, it's easy to do.

How do I change the codes?

Let's say you want to change Family Status to use Adult for all adult members of a household, but you already have several individual records in your database with Family Status codes of Head of Household and Spouse.

  • If you're not going to use Head of Household, start by opening the Master Coding System, locating the codes for individual records and selecting the Family Status code type. Change Head of Household to Adult. Now all of the individuals that used to have a Family Status of Head of Household have the Family Status Adult.
  • Now we need to assign the individuals with the Family Status Spouse to the Adult Family Status. This is easily accomplished in Individual List Maintenance. On the left-hand side of the Individual List Maintenance window, choose List, then Family Status and Spouse. On the right-hand side, choose Family Status and Adult. Highlight all individuals in the left-hand window, then either drag-and-drop them to the right-hand side or click the Transfer Selected button. Click Save, and CDM+ will save these individuals to the new Family Status.
  • Finally, return to the Master Coding System and delete Spouse from the Family Status codes.

Individual List Maintenance

What guidelines should I use for Family Status?

It's entirely up to you. CDM+ is designed to fit the way you think, work, and talk. So be descriptive with Family Status codes, but keep it simple. Avoid the temptation to create too many codes to handle every edge case that comes along. Remember that Family Status should indicate the individual's status within the household. Some databases use a scheme something like this:

  • Adult for adult members of the household
  • Child for minor children at home
  • Deceased for deceased members
  • Other for cases that fit none of the above

Remember, you can use Connections to define relationships between people in the household. This is helpful when you have more than two generations in a single household. Also, the relationships defined in Connections are retained when an individual gets moved from one household or address record to another.