Methods: A survey was designed to assess whether Part C providers 1) perceived themselves as having the resources to serve families referred from child welfare, 2) believed that doing so was part of Part C's mission, and 3) were willing to partner with maltreating parents to serve their children. Factor analyses of data collected during pilot research supported the survey's proposed three-factor structure; alpha reliabilities for each subscale were at or above .70. The survey also requested personal demographics and professional characteristics such as number of years in the field. The Organizational Climate Survey (Glisson, 2000) was also administered. Approximately 450 surveys were sent to publicly employed early childhood interventionists in a Part C program in one state. Data analyses included a confirmatory factor analysis of the survey, descriptive statistics, and hierarchical regression analyses.
Results: The response rate was 68.9%. Confirmatory factor analyses again supported the measure's three-factor structure (CFI = .96, RMSEA = .05, and TLI = .95). Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that personal and professional characteristics of workers were not significantly associated with early interventionists' perceptions. However, better organizational climate was associated with positive attitudes about serving children and families referred from child welfare, explaining about 13% of the variance.
Many factors likely contribute to the low service utilization of Part C services by families referred by child welfare agencies. If Part C program managers are concerned that their employees are reluctant to serve these families, perhaps they should give consideration to the impact of organizational climate rather than worker characteristics. The author will discuss present implications for child welfare agencies working with very young children and the need for social work policy and practice research with young at-risk children.