Abstract: University-community partnerships are increasingly recognized as valuable in educating students and bridging the gap between research and practice. This article describes the evolution and design of a university-community partnership between a School of Social Work in one urban university and local child welfare agencies: the Child Welfare Partnership for Research and Training (CW-PART). The article describes 1) the community-engaged framework used to inform the overall approach and partner roles; 2) evolution of the model from early partnered research successes and core elements of the CW-PART university-community partnered research model; and 3) preliminary lessons learned from the pilot phase of model.
Abstract: Using a mixed methods approach, this study examined reunification processes and outcomes among Vietnamese immigrant families involved in the child welfare system. A quantitative design was used to describe characteristics and reunification outcomes of Vietnamese immigrant children and families who are involved in family reunification services. Qualitative methods were used to explore factors that may influence reunification outcomes among Vietnamese families. The quantitative portion of the study included an exploratory design using administrative data from one county in the Northern California. The quantitative sample (N=32) included children entering the foster care system for 8 or more days between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2007 from child welfare administrative data(CWS/CMS) which was merged with eligibility data (CalWIN) in order to obtain parent and child place of birth to determine country of origin. The qualitative study included an exploratory design using interview data from child welfare workers (N=8) and Vietnamese immigrant parents who had successfully reunified (N=7).Quantitative results indicated that the most common type of maltreatment leading to entry into care was caretaker absence or incapacity, an abuse category that is often used in cases of parental substance abuse. 53.8% of Vietnamese immigrant children in the quantitative sample reunified with their parents,which is close to the national rate of reunification. Qualitative findings pointed to the importance of the following factors within reunification: acculturation-related issues, parental substance abuse, child welfare worker cultural competency and issues related to service availability and effectiveness. Implications for social work practice and policy are discussed.
Abstract: This study examined racial/ethnic differences in mothers' use of court-mandated family reunification services, including parent training, substance abuse treatment, and mental health treatment; and the influence of these services on racial/ethnic disparities on two permanency outcomes: family reunification and length of time in the child welfare system. Methods included a retrospective design using in-depth case record review and administrative data (N = 403). Results indicated racial/ethnic differences in service use and permanency outcomes. Across racial/ethnic groups, substance abuse treatment was associated with a shorter length of time in the child welfare system. Implications for child welfare services among racially/ethnically diverse families are discussed.
Abstract: This study examined reunification outcomes among Mexican immigrant families involved in the child welfare system, and compared characteristics of Mexican-origin and non-immigrant children involved in the child welfare system. An exploratory retrospective longitudinal design using administrative data from two counties in Northern California was utilized. The quantitative sample (N=2152) included children entering the foster care system for 8 or more days between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2007 in the two participating counties. Child welfare administrative data (CWS/CMS) were merged with eligibility data (CalWIN) in order to obtain parent and child place of birth and citizenship status. Quantitative measures drawn from the merged CWS/CMS and CalWIN dataset included the following: demographic characteristics, immigrant characteristics, case characteristics and reunification outcomes. Results indicated that a significantly higher proportion of Mexican immigrant families (70.7%) were reunified than non-immigrant families (43.1%). Significant correlates of reunification among Mexican immigrant families included the following: mothers with authorized citizenship status (vs. unauthorized citizenship status), mothers whose primary language was Spanish (vs. English), and children with two or fewer placements (vs. three or more placements). Differences between Mexican-origin and non-immigrant children were that Mexican-origin children were older on average than non-immigrant children, and they were more likely to experience physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse; they were also more likely to be placed in foster care or a group home (vs. relative care). Implications for social work practice and policy are discussed.
Abstract: Social service practitioners and researchers have long been aware of the gap between research and practice. The evidence-based practice movement has brought increasing attention to the role of empirically based interventions within social service practice, however, effective methods of research dissemination and utilization have received relatively little attention. This article describes factors related to dissemination and utilization of research within human service agency settings, including those factors related to: (1) individual practitioners, (2) the organization, (3) the nature of research, and (4) how research is communicated. The implications of these factors for dissemination and utilization of research are also identified. Ultimately, effective dissemination and utilization of research will involve considerable collaboration between researchers and practitioners. If they are to reach the shared goal of improved interventions and client outcomes, effective collaboration will require both practitioners and researchers to make changes to their practice and to their research.