Methods: Participants were drawn from de-identified case information provided by the agency. Families were contacted if they had any child welfare concerns in 2012 and 2013 and their cases were open at least two months. Of the 112 eligible clients who were living and accessible twenty-nine agreed to participate (N= 29).
A graduate student from the community administered the CPS Client Survey via in-person interviews. Due to the small sample size, ordinal alpha and polychoric matrices were used to provide psychometric information on the survey. Results indicated that the CPS Client Survey is a global measure of client satisfaction (polychoric alpha=.94). Convergent and discriminant validity were supported using polychoric correlations between the total score and items included for the purpose of testing validity. Use of the measure in different communities would help confirm its reliability.
Survey results were analyzed using Pearson correlations and Chi-square tests.
Results: The results covered the four main themes of the survey, client-worker relationship, implementation of case planning activities, worker’s appreciation of and respect for cultural background, and clients’ perceptions of outcomes. Overall satisfaction was related to two components of the client-worker relationship, whether clients were encouraged to talk about things that were going well and whether positive progress was recognized. Worker activities, including collaboration, sharing and using the case plan, and identifying supports, were related to overall satisfaction. The worker’s respect and acknowledgement of culture were both related to overall satisfaction and willingness to contact the agency in the future. The client outcomes of feeling better able to care for themselves and feeling safer and more secure were both related to whether clients felt they could call the agency in a crisis and whether they felt their workers included culture in discussions and planning.
Conclusion and Implications: This study demonstrates that worker skills, the relationship a worker forms and maintains with a client, and the inclusion of culture affect client satisfaction. The correlations between items addressing culture and client outcomes demonstrate that there are many ways workers can support Indigenous families in feeling safer and better able to care for themselves. It also demonstrates that it isn’t enough for workers to just ask about culture, clients felt better able to care for themselves and safer and more secure when their worker incorporated culture into the process. Workers, supervisors, and managers may use these findings to inform the development of agency self-assessments and to support the development of training and supervision initiatives to support best practice implementation.
This measure can be used in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to improve services in ways that support each client’s individual cultural experiences.