Abstract: Exploring the Early Implementation of a Resilience Intervention in a Child Welfare Setting (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Exploring the Early Implementation of a Resilience Intervention in a Child Welfare Setting

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Ahwatukee A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Shelby Clark, Phd, MSW, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Priya Vanchy Kadavasal, PhD, Assistant Researcher Senior, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
April Diaz, MSW, MA, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, Lawrence, KS
Kelly Young, MSW, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Vickie McArthur, LCMFT, Director of Coaching, University of Kansas, KS
Kaela Byers, PhD, Associate Research Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Becci Akin, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Background: Scholars have found higher resilience to be associated with improved worker wellbeing (Burnett and Wahl, 2015). However, few studies have tested interventions that may increase staff resilience in child welfare settings. Using an implementation science framework (Fixsen, Blase, & Van Dyke, 2019), a resilience intervention was initiated in a Midwestern state with child welfare staff, including direct service workers, supervisors, and administrators. The primary research questions were: (1) To what extent was the resilience intervention adopted by child welfare staff? (2) To what extent was the resilience intervention feasible in a child welfare setting?

Method: This study utilized a mixed-methods design to evaluate early implementation outcomes of adoption and feasibility of an adapted version of Resilience Alliance (RA), a 12-week psychoeducation group-based curriculum. RA teaches skills, such as identifying and regulating stress responses, self-care, and developing an optimistic mindset. RA groups were held for 60-90 minutes in 12 cohorts of 7-15 individuals representing six public and private child welfare agencies. Adoption (Proctor, 2011) of the intervention was quantitatively measured through descriptive statistics related to the uptake of the intervention. Feasibility (Proctor, 2011) was measured by the rate of intervention completion. Additionally, both adoption and feasibility were examined from the perspectives of participants. Utilizing a semi-structured interview guide, we conducted six virtual focus groups that explored study participants experiences of RA. 49 participants working as direct service providers, supervisors, and administrators in public and private child welfare agencies in a Midwestern state participated. Focus groups were video-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were uploaded to Dedoose, an online qualitative analysis tool. Modified Analytic Induction (MAI) (Bogdan & Biklen 1998) was used to conduct a comparative analysis in which coding structures were developed both inductively and deductively. Consistent with MAI, we began the study with the preliminary hypothesis that several early factors presented supports and challenges that contributed to the adoption and feasibility of RA. Also consistent with MAI, we simultaneously identified emergent themes in the data that were not preconceived prior to analysis.

Results: Results indicated that RA was successfully adopted. Descriptive statistics indicated that of the 173 participants who enrolled in the intervention, 97.1% consented to participate and 94.8% attended at least one session. Results indicated that while the intervention is feasible (82.6% completed the program), there are changes that child welfare workers feel would support improved feasibility. Qualitative findings identified three themes: (1) Supports and challenges for the feasibility of the RA intervention occurred at multiple levels (individually, organizationally, and systemically); (2) Supports and barriers to the adoption of the RA intervention occurred at multiple levels; and (3) Experiences with the RA intervention varied by job role among child welfare staff.

Implications: Despite the overburdened nature of the child welfare system, uptake of RA was high and that intervention is feasible. These findings suggest early implementation of RA was successful. Child welfare practice may benefit from further research examining the intervention’s effectiveness at increasing resilience and decreasing conditions that negatively affect child welfare workforces such as secondary traumatic stress.