Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Using Qualitative Methods and Data to Inform a Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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216P (WITHDRAWN) Using Qualitative Methods and Data to Inform a Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Kori Bloomquist, PhD, Assistant Professor, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC
Background and Purpose:

This presentation provides an overview of an analysis completed as part of the Process Study component of the Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation Project in one midwestern state. The study utilized qualitative interviews with Regional Managers (RMs) and Field Operations Administrators (ADDs and DD) in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019 of the Waiver demonstration to better understand Waiver implementation and outcomes.

The primary research questions for this study include:

  • What are Regional Managers’/Field Administrators’ perceptions of their roles & responsibilities?
  • What are Regional Managers’/Field Administrators’ perceptions of various components of regional/state child welfare practice?
  • What are Regional Managers’/Field Administrators’ perceptions of the 2012 Waiver?


The methodological framework for this study is a longitudinal, collective case study. Case study research involves analysis of an issue explored through one or more cases within a bounded system, over time, through detailed, in-depth data collection, involving multiple sources (Creswell, 2007). The products of case study research include case descriptions and case-based themes (Creswell, 2007). This collective case study makes use of multiple cases (interviews) to illustrate an issue (2012 Waiver) within the bounded context of the state’s child welfare agency, and within the demonstration period (2012 – 2019). Evaluators completed 100 semi-structured telephone interviews with participants across the five rounds of data collection. Participants included the state’s 18 RMs and field administrators (varied by round). Participants shared a wealth of experience and a variety of roles with the agency, about half held Master’s degrees, and about half held a social work degree(s).

Steps for data analysis were inspired by Creswell (2007) and are as follows:

  • Become familiar/re-familiar with the issue
  • Read each case
  • Provide a detailed description of each case
  • Re-read each case
  • Identify themes within each case
  • Identify common themes that transcend cases
  • Develop assertions

Analysis steps were completed for each round of data collection as well as for the collective case, reviewing all rounds of data. Participant quotes provided thematic evidence.


The following are identified to be the common themes that transcend all rounds of data:

  • Varied understandings of the 2012 Waiver
  • Historic strains and disconnect between central administration and field operations
  • Unique regional strengths and challenges
  • Waiver perceived as a funding mechanism to help meet unique needs of families, expediting permanency

Conclusions and Implications:

As a result of this study, the Waiver evaluators advocate for targeting middle managers and administrators as valuable data sources for studying process. Evaluators recommend using qualitative methods to assist with contextualizing child welfare implementation data. RMs and field administrators hold an abundance of knowledge about the regions and areas they manage and the staff they supervise. Mid-level managers and administrators serve as a bridge between central administration and field staff and share unique perspectives of both. RMs and ADDs are essential components of the feedback loop for state-level child welfare policy and practice implementation. Acknowledging RM and ADD perceptions and experiences has the potential to support change efforts and may ultimately result in more positive outcomes for children and families.