Session: Parenting and Caregiving in the Early Years: Who Are We Leaving out? (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.

181 Parenting and Caregiving in the Early Years: Who Are We Leaving out?

Friday, January 13, 2023: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Ahwatukee A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Julie Ribaudo, PhD(c), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Justin Harty, PhD, Arizona State University, Nucha Isarowong, PhD, University of Washington, Amittia Parker, PhD, Georgetown University and Tova Walsh, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
The 2020-2021 racial reckoning revealed the need for social work to examine the policies, practices, and history that uphold white supremacy. Fault lines in social work practice, education, and research were laid bare. Painful questions emerged. How and in what ways has social work contributed to structural inequality, failing to dismantle systemic racism and oppression? Whose voices are absent in our research? The long arm of racialized trauma contributes to health disparities, reaching into the womb and contributing to our dubious status as the industrialized country with the highest infant and maternal mortality rate among families of color.

This roundtable of a diverse group of scholars is engaged in intervention and research on early parent-infant relational health, the foundation of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). Research demonstrates that infants and young children develop best in the context of responsive, stable, and nurturing relationships. However, the effects of structural racism and socio-economic determinants of parental mental health, family functioning, and child health outcomes destroy this delicate balance. Despite parenting under severe inequities, many socially excluded parents of color maintain strong families and raise healthy children. However, some traumatized and systematically disadvantaged parents of color remain unable to be the parents they aspire to be. As a field, we have failed to critically examine and confront the early childhood serving systems of care that continue to harm and disrupt families of color.

We will describe the state of the research concerning child outcomes associated with early parent-child relational health, including emerging evidence of the epigenetic transmission of the trauma of racial inequity. We will discuss what we have learned about interventions to support Black, Indigenous, and other mothers and fathers of color through racially sensitive research, policy, and practice interventions. Research barriers, including recruitment, access, and retention, exacerbated by agency policies and gatekeeping, will be discussed. We will explore the intersecting findings from the research on engaging young Black fathers whose children are in the foster care system, and challenges and strategies for recruiting a heterogeneous parent sample, inclusive of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and marital status. We will consider the meaning of researcher positionality and the opportunities and challenges of conducting research as 'insiders' who share lived experience with research participants and 'outsiders' who do not. Finally, we will address building, diversifying, and supporting the infant and early childhood mental health workforce and the disparity in the availability of BIPOC mental health/social work professionals in this work by decentering white supremacy in curriculum, administrative practices, and 'training' spaces. The role of culturally responsive reflective supervision will be illuminated as a best practice in training and education.

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