Session: Building Dashboards to Measure Change over Time in Risk and Protective Factors: Shifting the Child Welfare Paradigm from Being Services Driven to Change Driven (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

37 Building Dashboards to Measure Change over Time in Risk and Protective Factors: Shifting the Child Welfare Paradigm from Being Services Driven to Change Driven

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Treasury, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Hunter College, Pamela Clarkson Freeman, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Heather Kohls, Action for Child Protection
One size does not fit all! A major issue in child welfare is that many systems focus on mandating an array of services that will not likely match the unique needs and strengths of families who come in contact with the child welfare system. One consequence is that families of color, who are disproportionally represented in the child welfare system (Barth, 2020), are not supported to reduce the risk factors that may have led to child maltreatment. Furthermore, their family strengths and protective factors that may mitigate those risks are often ignored. Some scholars propose that the system is broken and needs to be abolished (Detlaff, et al., 2020). Alternatively, there are ways to implement strategies within the current systems that emphasize racial equity and support.

The Family First act is designed to support child welfare systems to develop prevention-focused infrastructure and to shift financing from out-of-home care to efficacious and promising practices. As child welfare systems shift to a new way of addressing the needs of families, it is crucial that there is a shift to an individualized approach that emphasizes empathy and partnership. A tailored approach has a much greater likelihood of success than assuming one size fits all.

This workshop is designed to outline the steps for targeting risk and protective factors in child welfare, implementing methods for assessing those factors with standardized assessment measures, and building dashboards for measuring change over time as part of “usual practice�. It is unrealistic that research will be attached to usual child welfare services. Dashboards are a vehicle to support families to celebrate success on an individual basis and aggregated serve to support leaders to use data to drive programming and decision-making. Dashboards have the advantage of providing a real time method for understanding how well the system is working to support families to change the behaviors and conditions that led to them needing this assistance.

Co-presenters have collaborated with numerous child welfare programs to use standardized assessment instruments for targeting change focused intervention and evaluating change over time at the family level for over twenty-five years. Through these approaches, families are supported to self-report what is going well and in what areas they may need assistance, emphasizing the voice of their family. In recent years, these collaborations have focused on building capacity of programs to also measure change at the program level. Sample dashboards illustrating change in risk and protective factors (e.g., family functioning, social support, family resources, parenting attitudes, and parenting stress) will be used to walk participants through the steps to design and implement similar strategies in partnerships with community-based child welfare programs.

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