Session: Child Welfare Challenges in Designing, Replicating and Adapting Evidence-Based Interventions (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

251 Child Welfare Challenges in Designing, Replicating and Adapting Evidence-Based Interventions

Saturday, January 18, 2020: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Mint, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Child Welfare (CW)
Symposium Organizer:
Kerrie Ocasio, PhD, Rutgers University
Rowena Fong, EdD, University of Texas at Austin
Background/Purpose: Given the focus of the recent Family First legislation, it is clear that evidence-based interventions are expected and funding opportunities will be tied to successful outcomes. But well-planned research designs are often thwarted by unexpected situation or circumstances. It is important to discuss successes and difficulties in the process of conducting intervention research in child welfare settings. This will provide a better understanding of how to work collaboratively to improve outcomes for all children and families, improve racial and economic inequality within the child welfare system, and enhance the science of intervention research.

Methods: The National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Assistance (QIC-AG) is evaluating the effectiveness of eight interventions across the U.S. with the purpose to promote permanence, when reunification is no longer a goal, and improve adoption and guardianship preservation and support. Using the Children's Bureau (2014) “Framework to Design, Test, Spread, and Sustain Effective Child Welfare Practice,” this symposium will review the methodology from four interventions as case studies to explore the challenges and lessons learned in the child welfare service context, addressing implications for future research and policies in child welfare.

Results: The Wisconsin project was unable to identify an appropriate evidence-based model to implement and engaged in rapid design and testing of an intervention. While this site had limited time to collect a robust outcomes sample, qualitative interviews of participants were used to test and confirm the Theory of Change. The Texas project replicated without adaptation an evidence-based intervention and assessed fidelity using multiple measures and perspectives. This research indicated minimal lack of fidelity to the model, with deviations attributed to issues of time management. Two other sites adapted evidence-based programs to address the perceived needs of particular populations. In New Jersey, a program for a universal population was adapted to address the adoption/guardianship context. Analysis of brief questionnaires indicated that the intervention and control groups were comparable. However, intervention participants differed from non-intervention participants and from the control group in noticeable and important ways. For the Winnebago Tribe site, adaption was made to address cultural contexts. In this study, culture had a pervasive effect on the design and implementation of the intervention.

Conclusions: The studies discussed in this symposium provide case examples of the various steps in the Framework and elucidate ways in which the child welfare service context may affect and inform the research process. Implications for experimental research design will be discussed, including: 1) qualitative methods for testing and confirming or refining a Theory of Change, 2) triangulation of perspectives to understand how the implementation process relates to fidelity, 3) limitations of random assignment and methods for understanding who participates in interventions, and 4) adaptations that may be necessary when working with Native American populations. The lessons learned from this multi-site experimental research project have implications for future research intended to design or replicate evidence-based services in child welfare.

* noted as presenting author
Support Within, Between, and Outside: A Triage of Support Among Adoptive and Guardianship Families
Roni Diamant-Wilson, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Joan Blakey, PHD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Nancy Rolock, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Addressing Trauma, Grief and Loss to Increase Permanency: Fidelity Findings from the Evaluation of Pathways to Permanency 2
Laura Marra, MSSW, University of Texas at Austin; Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW, University of Texas at Austin; Rowena Fong, EdD, University of Texas at Austin
Tuning in to Teens (TINT) Replication: A Study of a Universal Intervention for Families Adapted for an at-Risk Population of Adoptive and Guardianship Families
Kerrie Ocasio, PhD, Rutgers University; Nancy Rolock, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Kevin White, PhD, East Carolina University
Case Study of the Replication of Family Group Decision Making: Adaptations of Evidence-Based Practices to Honor Indigenous Community Way of Life
Rowena Fong, EdD, University of Texas at Austin; Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW, University of Texas at Austin; Laura Marra, MSSW, University of Texas at Austin
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