Session: Advancing the Impact of Ecologically Oriented Research on Child Maltreatment Prevention (Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference - Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth)

48 Advancing the Impact of Ecologically Oriented Research on Child Maltreatment Prevention

Friday, January 13, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Bacchus (New Orleans Marriott)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Michael Hurlburt, PhD, University of Southern California, Emily Putnam-Hornstein, PhD, University of Southern California, Claudia Coulton, PhD, Case Western Reserve University, Katie Maguire Jack, PhD, Ohio State University, David S. Crampton, PhD, Case Western Reserve University and Bridget Freisthler, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Child maltreatment remains an urgent social welfare and public health dilemma in the United States and other countries. Although maltreatment encompasses diverse forms, it is consistently linked with a wide array of adverse short- and long-term developmental, mental health, educational, and social outcomes, causing individual harm and draining potential from youth in our society. Historically, informed by family-level epidemiological research, responses to maltreatment have been balanced toward service delivery responding to the psychosocial needs of families coming into contact with child welfare services. At a research, policy, and practice level, there is growing recognition that addressing the long-term challenge of child maltreatment requires increased attention to primary prevention and to understanding the ecological context in which maltreatment occurs.   

Ecologically oriented research has brought into focus a different array of forces that contribute to understanding the regional and local prevalence of maltreatment, including characteristics of local social networks and related culture and values, levels of informal social control, the density of alcohol serving establishments within residents’ local activity spaces, housing quality, the related occurrence of other social issues within neighborhoods, and the strength of interconnections among service systems and with residents in local areas. With broader availability of linked administrative data, increasingly sophisticated and interdisciplinary methods for ecological analysis, and a deepening pool of ecologically-oriented research, opportunities for research/policy/practice collaboration to inform prevention strategies are strong.

This roundtable session will stimulate discussion about how ecologically oriented research related to child maltreatment is currently, and can inform prevention-oriented policy and practice. This will occur by bringing together presenters who will describe ecologically-oriented research utilizing different methodologies and their findings, together with presenters who will reflect on broader practice/policy implications and specific prevention strategies.  Specifically, one presenter will discuss neighborhood-oriented research in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties focused on social context and its connections with child maltreatment prevalence.  Three presenters will discuss the use of linked administrative data to yield new insights into child maltreatment occurrence, including its connection with local housing quality and constraints on child care choices. Two additional presenters will focus specifically on discussing policy and practice implications of the broader array of ecologically oriented child maltreatment research, including discussing the Needs Portal, a web-based intervention designed to better serve formal and informal needs of families where abuse or neglect has occurred.  Our goals with this roundtable are to provide participants with a survey of current ecologically oriented child maltreatment research and to advance the direction and impact of such research by engaging participants in discussion of how the findings from existing work can inform prevention practice and policy, and future research directions. Presenters will emphasize providing concise remarks that facilitate active questions and discussion among roundtable participants.

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