Parent Engagement in Supported Supervised Visitation in Child Welfare
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Background: Much attention is being paid to how workers can successfully engage child welfare involved parents early on in their dependency cases. Increasingly, parent engagement approaches are being recognized as the foundation of good casework practice. These approaches mark a shift towards including, even featuring, parent input and perspectives and provide insight into how greater parent involvement in services can be achieved. Intervention: From June to November 2015, the University of Washington, School of Social Work partnered with Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Administration and a visit provider agency in Pierce County, WA to conduct a pilot study of Strive, a parenting support program founded upon child welfare practice knowledge and research evidence on client engagement. The program is structured around supervised parent-child visits for families with children in out-of-home or foster care. Methods: Five families, consisting of six parents and six children met the eligibility criteria and were recruited for a 15-week pilot study of the program. Two Strive-trained Visit Supervisors delivered the program. Parents participated in three structured phone interviews with open-ended questions investigating the quality of the parent-Visit Supervisor relationship within the Strive program and any impacts on the parent-child visit. Results: Findings from a qualitative analysis of the data suggest that parents formed positive relationships with their Visit Supervisors and that client engagement, conceptualized as four dimensions: receptivity, buy-in, working relationship, trust, was achieved. Overall, parents affirmed that family connection and visit stability was enhanced due to the influence of the Strive program. No limitations were stated about the involvement of the Visit Supervisor and important curricular revisions were recommended.
- Health services