Abstract: Assessing Parental Self-Efficacy, Attitudes, and Knowledge of the Child Welfare System through the HOPE Class (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Assessing Parental Self-Efficacy, Attitudes, and Knowledge of the Child Welfare System through the HOPE Class

Friday, January 13, 2023
Encanto B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Emily Saeteurn, MSW, Doctoral Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Judy Krysik, PhD, Associate Professor, Arizona State University, AZ
Natalia Vasiliou, MSW, Research Specialist, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Deborah Mabingani, Research Specialist, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Background and Purpose: A peer parent program located in the southwest offers families involved in child welfare dependency proceedings the opportunity to participate in a two-hour informational class called the “HOPE Class”. In this class, child welfare stakeholders, including include a juvenile court judge and mediator, parent and child attorneys, guardian ad litems, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and representatives from the DCS Ombudsman Office, describe their roles in the dependency process and provide general advice. The class is facilitated by peer parents with prior child welfare involvement, who also share their experiences with the child welfare system, answer questions, and provide resource information as well as their contact information to participants, if requested. Using a five-point Likert scale to respond to five statements, HOPE Class participants rate their self-efficacy, attitudes, and perceived knowledge of the child welfare system on a pre- and post-survey. The pre-survey also collects demographic information and the post-survey includes three open-ended questions about the class. The purpose of this paper is to examine if there is a significant change in parental attitudes, perceived knowledge, and self-efficacy after attending the HOPE Class.

Methods: Using pre-survey data, descriptive statistics were applied to summarize participant demographic information. Dependent t-tests were utilized to analyze the individual statements, the survey subscales of parental attitudes, perceived knowledge and self-efficacy, and the overall pre- and post-survey scores using a composite score of the five statements. Independent t-tests and analysis of variance were used to examine subgroup differences on change scores between the pre and post survey. Finally, the responses to the three open-ended questions were analyzed and grouped into thematic categories.

Results: There was an increase in scores from pre- to post survey for all statements; however, only four statements, specifically the statements pertaining to parental attitudes and perceived knowledge, demonstrated statistically significant increases. Two of the three subscales, parental attitudes and perceived knowledge, demonstrated significant increases from pre- to post-survey as did the overall composite scores. No significant differences in change scores were found for the sub-group analysis, including between mothers and fathers and between different races. Participants provided positive feedback regarding the HOPE Class, including feeling hopeful and having a better understanding of what they can do to reunify with their children. Participants also offered specific recommendations on how to improve the HOPE Class, including extending the length of the class.

Conclusion and Implications: HOPE Class attendance appears to have a positive impact on participant’s perceived knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy, as demonstrated by the increase in scores from the pre-survey to the post-survey as well as anecdotal participant feedback. Furthermore, HOPE Class participation may have the potential to increase positive case outcomes for families. Future research is needed to determine what, if any, effects participation in the HOPE Class has on more distal child welfare case outcomes, including permanency and time-in-care.