Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

16276 Mapping the Core Components of a Parent Support and Training Model for Parents of Seriously Emotionally Disturbed Children

Saturday, January 14, 2012: 8:00 AM
Independence B (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Toni K. Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Kaela Byers, LMSW, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Katherine Byrnes, LMSW, Family Evaluator, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Sharah Davis-Groves, LMSW, Project Manager, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Tom McDonald, PhD, Dean of Research, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Background and Purpose: Parent-to-parent peer interventions are nationally recognized as an important service for families of children with emotional, behavioral, and developmental disabilities (Fischer, Sauaia, & Kutner, 2007; Hoagwood, 2005). However, clearly defined models of professional parent services are difficult to find. In addition, little information could be located that describes the development or implementation of this model into a community-based system of care. This study describes the process used to obtain statewide consensus among key stakeholders including parents, service providers, and administrators, on the core components of a parent support and training (PST) model integrated in to the community mental health center (CMHC) system of care for parents of seriously emotionally disturbed children. Research questions studied include: 1) Which components do stakeholders identify as being most important in the delivery of PST services in CMHCs in Kansas and 2) Are components identified as most important in the delivery of PST services also seen as the components frequently demonstrated in PST programs in CMHCs in Kansas?

Method: Concept mapping, a mixed method participatory action evaluation approach was used to investigate the research questions. Participants were recruited from across geographical areas of the state and across stakeholder roles in collaboration with three geographically diverse CMHC sites and the Kansas PST Statewide Network. Participants representing key stakeholder groups included consumers, service providers, and state and agency administrators. The sample was predominantly white and female. Sixty-two participants rated the importance and observed frequency of 49 distinct statements related to the PST service on a scale of 1 (least important, least frequently demonstrated) to 5 (most important, most frequently demonstrated). Twenty-one of those participants also sorted the statements into conceptual groups. Multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) was used to analyze the sort data and hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to group the statements into clusters that reflected similar concepts or themes (Kane & Trochim, 2007).

Results: Analyses yielded a six cluster “solution” with the following themes in order of importance: Immediate Priorities (avg. rating of importance 4.72), Initial Engagement (4.50), Effective Intervention (4.46), Understanding the Family's Needs (3.69), Qualifications/Characteristics of a PST staff member (3.58), and Original Family Centered System of Care Policy (2.55). Analyses reflected a high level of agreement across stakeholder groups on statements identified as most important and most frequently demonstrated in PST services Statewide. Additionally, this solution represents statewide stakeholder consensus on the essential components of a model of PST services.

Conclusions and Implication: This study reflects the importance of advocacy for children and their families and the provision of information and education to parents, elements identified as important in the children's mental health literature (Hoagwood et al, 2010; Munson, Hussey, Stormann, & King, 2009). Findings from this study provide information that guides discussion on program development and practice implications related to the implementation and delivery of services to parents of children with significant mental health needs. This study also offers areas of consideration for organizations seeking to recruit and train staff and volunteers for a PST program.

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