Session: Moving Beyond Voice: Changing Child Welfare Research to Integrate Lived Expertise (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.

257 Moving Beyond Voice: Changing Child Welfare Research to Integrate Lived Expertise

Saturday, January 14, 2023: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Desert Sky, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD, University of Oklahoma
Scout Hartley, MPA, Rutgers University-Newark, Starlett Hartley, The New School, Kimberly Osborn, MSW, Oklahoma State University, Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD, University of Oklahoma and Bailey Stevens, BA, University of Oklahoma
The Fostering Learning through Youth-University Partnerships (FLY-UP) team seeks to model collaborative research and promote community involvement throughout every stage of the research process. We are an on-going interdisciplinary research program that integrates lived expertise in foster care into the entirety of the research process in order to better understand and address the needs of the child welfare system. FLY-UP moves beyond giving voice to communities to a place where communities are given power through research. We also heavily emphasize the importance of presenting research findings through democratic dissemination. FLY-UP works within a participatory action research (PAR) framework. This framework relies heavily on the input and leadership of those being studied to develop, guide, and interpret research. We believe that the lived expertise of people who have experienced foster care is invaluable if not necessary to the overall discussion of how best to reform child welfare. PAR allows participants to serve as experts who inform best practices and give insight into interventions that will have a positive impact on the community. During the roundtable session, the FLY-UP team will facilitate a discussion on how best to conduct PAR by using participatory action techniques during the session at SSWR. We will highlight that PAR is a methodology that not only benefits the researcher, but the participant as well through the personal and professional development gained during the PAR process throughout the course of a research project. Attendees will be given a brief introduction to FLY-UP and the progress we have made in the past year, including what PAR is, the dissemination techniques we are using, and challenges to PAR that FLY-UP has encountered. We will then open a Fishbowl-style Discussion where several members of the audience are invited to the inner discussion circle, participants will have the opportunity to share ideas and gain knowledge on the process, as well as challenges of PAR work. The audience will switch who is in the inner discussion circle and the outer listening circle after each broad question. The discussion will highlight the potential for PAR to inform research and practice changes, and will also address the challenges that come along with these research approaches. FLY-UP members will accentuate the tension between "infantilized" foster youth, including beliefs concerning the necessity of family to successfully transition into adulthood, and the all too real adult realities that foster youth face. They will also highlight how the PAR process accepts participants as peers and co-creators of knowledge while simultaneously providing the kinds of experiences of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity that Seita (2014) highlights as being fundamental components of family privilege. Other topics the Roundtable will cover are the process of initiating and carrying out PAR, the shifts in positionality and master status throughout the PAR process, implications of interdisciplinary work and utilizing lived expertise, the possible "infantilization" of foster care alumni that might result from traditional engagement practices, dissemination of results to wide and varying audiences, and the positive challenge of project growth and expansion.
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