Abstract: A Qualitative Study on the Experience of Family-Centered Case Management Services Among Parent Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment in Korea (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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249P A Qualitative Study on the Experience of Family-Centered Case Management Services Among Parent Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment in Korea

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Kyunghee Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, Kottongnae University, Korea, Republic of (South)
Minhwa Yun, PhD, Assistant Professor, Daegu University, Korea, Republic of (South)
Juye Ji, PhD, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Background: Similar to the US, more than 80% of child maltreatment cases are perpetrated by parents in Korea. Given that parents are the predominant perpetrators, interventions for parent perpetrators are critical to protect vulnerable children. However, research on parent perpetrators is lacking, particularly our understanding of parent perpetrators’ experience with child protective services (CPS) is limited. Good Neighbors, a CPS agency in Korea, developed a new family-centered case management service model (FCMS) which provides integrated services to CPS involved families. The current study is a part of a larger research which investigated the efficacy of this FCMS. The present study qualitatively investigated the experience of and changes through the FCMS among parent perpetrators of child maltreatment.
Methods: Eleven parent perpetrators including 6 mothers and 5 fathers (mean age =44.6) were recruited from the four CPS agencies which implemented the FCMS for 2 years or longer. The types of child maltreatment perpetrated were mostly physical abuse (n=7), but also included sexual abuse (n=1), emotional abuse (n=5), and neglect (n=3). Four cases were reported for multiple types of child maltreatment. The FCMS provided parent education, family counseling, family camps, and financial support. The average duration of service was about 1.3 years. A 90-minute, individual, semi-structured interview was conducted and parents were asked about their experiences and changes during and after the service period. Thematic analysis was performed.
Results: At the initial contact with the CPS, some parents’ reactions were skepticism and/or refusal, but other parents experienced a sense of relief by learning about other people’s caring and concern. Parents also reported difficulties in their lives, such as, unstable job, financial hardship, marital conflict, excessive burdens on child rearing, and psychiatric difficulties. They reported that they had a “mental break down” at the time of maltreatment. Second, five themes emerged from the analysis of the experiences during the service period; 1) recognizing self as a perpetrator; 2) enhanced understanding of their children and gaining knowledge on child development; 3) developing respect toward their children and themselves as a parent; 4) effort to change from former self; and 5) learning about changes in themselves through objective assessment process. Third, after the service period, parents reported positive change in treating the victimized children and this change also led to other family members’ positive change. One participant described the initial encounter with the child protection agency as "commenced as a bad relationship but became a strong bond," stressing the establishment of a social network was valuable for child rearing. Further, parents shared that their child’s positive transformation was also the major driving force behind their continued efforts to change.
Implications: The results support that the FCMS is a promising intervention for parent perpetrators and their families. With the current emphasis on family reunification, targeted intervention for parent perpetrators is critical to protect children. Therefore, more efforts should made to develop integrated services not only for maltreated children but also their parents and future research should further examine the effectiveness of diverse intervention strategies for parent perpetrators.