Training Social Workers to Use Solution-Focused Interviewing with Child Protective Services Clients: A Grant Proposal California State University, Long Beach May 2012 Erin C. Laird
Introduction • There are an average of 3.3 million referrals of child abuse and neglect each year in the United States (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2008). • Child Protective Services (CPS) workers that hold a master’s degree in social work (MSW) are the most effective in working with children and families, however, less than one third of them hold MSW degrees (Berg & Kelly, 2000). • Social workers who are working for Child Protective Services are tasked with assessing families to determine whether or not children are safe in their homes, and taking the necessary steps to ensure the continued safety of those children(U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2008) . • Solution-focused practice operates from the strengths-based perspective that clients are the experts in their own lives, and thus carry the potential solutions (Corcoran, 1999). Social workers trained to implement such techniques can work to help families parent more effectively and protect their children (Corcoran, 1999).
Social Work Relevance • Social workers who are working within Child Protective Services could potentially benefit from additional knowledge about interviewing techniques to use with their clients. Social workers are in a position to influence the children and families they are working with and utilizing strengths-based approaches may assist them in working towards effective outcomes. • The proposed training will hopefully allow Child Protective Services workers within Los Angeles County, Department of Children and Family Services to develop their skills in interviewing for strengths and solutions with their clients.
Cross-Cultural Relevance • Social workers play a vital role in Child Protective Services agencies across the country and work with individuals and families from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. The millions of reports of child abuse and neglect each year involve a diverse population of individuals. • African American children, American Indian children, Alaska Native children, and children of multiple races had the highest rates of victimization in proportion to their numbers in the total U. S. population (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2008). • Overall, nearly one half of all victims are White (45.1%), one fifth (21.9%) are African American, and one fifth (20.8%) are Hispanic (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). • Therefore, it is important that social workers are prepared to work with persons from a range of cultural backgrounds and consider unique cultural strengths and experiences.
Method • TARGET POPULUATION: The target population for the grant proposal consisted of social workers, employed by the Los Angeles County, Department of Children and Family Services, who worked with Child Protective Services clients. • STRATEGIES USED TO IDENTIFY & SELECT A FUNDING SOURCE: Multiple methods were used to help identify potential funding sources for the proposed project, including internet search engines and library databases. Potential funding sources were narrowed down based on a variety of factors, including applicability, deadline for submission and appropriate funding level.
Method • FUNDING SOURCE SELECTED: The Weingart Foundation was selected as the most viable option for a potential funding source. The Weingart Foundation fit the criteria of this particular grant in crucial categories such as application deadlines, funding levels and geographic program area requirements. The Weingart Foundation has many areas of focus and targets its funding to the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Ventura. A primary focus of the foundation is to provide funding for programs that serve low-income children and youth as well as older adults, and persons affected by disabilities and homelessness. • PROJECTED BUDGET RANGE & CATEGORIES: The projected budget for the proposed project totals approximately $166,750. Budget categories include: salaries and wages, operating expenses (including equipment), and in-kind resources.
Grant Proposal • Program Summary and Description: The goal of this proposed project is to train Child Protective Services workers to use solution-focused techniques in working with children and families in order to increase successful outcomes and decrease rates of repeat allegations of abuse. This 5-day, 40-hour, skill training workshop called Finding Solutions Together is designed to educate Child Protective Services workers about the needed skills to successfully engage their clients and work together to find effective solutions. The trainings will be comprised of a classroom lecture portion, where the participants will learn about solution-focused techniques, as well as an interactive portion, where the participants will work together practicing the techniques. • Population Served: The trainings are designed to increase the knowledge and skills of Child Protective Services workers. As a result of the trainings, children and families involved with the Child Protective Services system should also benefit.
Grant Proposal • Program Objectives: Objective 1: To educate Child Protective Services workers in solution-focused techniques so they can work more effectively with children and families. Objective 2: To increase Child Protective Services workers’ knowledge of utilizing solution-focused techniques. Objective 3: To strengthen the relationship between Child Protective Services workers and their clients and to connect the workers to resources for future support. • Program Evaluation: Program evaluation will be conducted at the end of each module in which the proposed solution-focused training program is implemented. Evaluation will include pre and posttest questionnaires from the participants. The evaluation will allow the program outcomes to be assessed and facilitate necessary program changes. Evaluation results will be used to make improvements to the solution-focused training program and help secure future program funding.
Implications for Social Work • Social workers endeavor to uphold the ethical values of their field and advocate for social justice. There are a variety of unmet needs and the development of new programs seeks to address some of those needs. • A major challenge for many programs, not only those within the social work field, is the need to secure adequate funding. There are limited resources available and the competition to secure those resources can be fierce. • Social workers must strive to create programs that are thoroughly researched, evidence-based and address an unmet need in an innovate way or in a way that fills a gap in current programming. • It may seem that the job of a social worker is to work in direct-practice with clients, not behind a desk writing a grant; however, the failure to secure necessary program funding will severely limit, or in some cases eliminate, the opportunity for that direct practice work to occur. Social workers are constantly working to address unmet needs and developing grant writing skills will help them to obtain funding to meet some of those needs.
References • Antle, B. F., Barbee, A. P., Sullivan, D. J., & Christensen, D. N. (2009). The effects of • training reinforcement on training transfer in child welfare. Child Welfare: Journal Of Policy, Practice, And Program, 88(3), 5-26. • Bae, H., Solomon, P. l., Gelles, R. J., & White, T. (2010). Effect of child protective • services system factors on child maltreatment reporting. Child Welfare: Journal • of Policy, Practice, and Program, 89(3), 33-56. • Berg, I. K., & Kelly, S. (2000). Building solutions in child protective services. New York, • NY: Norton. • Berg, I.K., & Steiner, T. (2003). Children’s solution work. New York, NY: Norton. • Child Welfare League of America. (2011). Training child welfare workers. Retrieved from http://www.childwelfare.gov/management/training/ • Corcoran, J. (1999). Solution-focused interviewing with child protective services clients. • Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program, 78(4), 461-479. • County of Los Angeles. Class Specification. (2007). Children’s social worker. Retrieved • from http://dhrdcap.co.la.ca.us/classspec/index.cfm?fuseaction=search. • detail&cs_id=2409 • De Jong, P., & Miller, S. D. (1995). How to interview for client strengths. Social Work, 40(6), 729-736. • Decker, J. T., Bailey, T. L., & Westergaard, N. (2002). Burnout among childcare • workers. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 19(4), 61-77. • DeFanfilis, D. & Salus, M.K. (2003). Child protective services: A guide for caseworkers. • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1-145. • Fluke, J. D. (2008). Child protective services rereporting and recurrence--context and • considerations regarding research. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(8), 749-751. • doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.08.009 • Forrester, D., Kershaw, S., Moss, H., & Hughes, L. (2008). Communication skills in child protection: How do social workers talk to parents? Child & Family Social Work, 13(1), 41-51. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00548.x • Franke, T., Bagdasaryan, S., & Furman, W. (2009). A multivariate analysis of training, education, and readiness for public child welfare practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(12), 1330-1336. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.06.004 • Gingerich, W., & Eisengart, S. (2000). Solution-focused brief therapy: a review of the outcome research. Family Process, 39(4), 477-498. • Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect. (2010). The state of child abuse in Los Angeles County. Retrieved January 2, 2012 from http://ican.co.la.ca.us/ PDF/Data_2010.pdf • Kim, J. S. (2008). Examining the effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy: A meta- • analysis. Research on Social Work Practice, 18(2), 107-116. doi:10.1177/10497 31507307807 • Koob, J. J., & Love, S. M. (2010). The implementation of solution-focused therapy to • increase foster care placement stability. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(10), 1346-1350. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.06.001 • Leighninger, L. (2002). Social work training needs: Yesterday and today. Journal of • Progressive Human Services, 13(2), 61-65. • Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. (2010). Fact sheet- • Child welfare services- Calendar year 2010. Retrieved from http://www.lacdcfs. org/aboutus/fact_sheet/DRS/December2010/CY_2010_Fact_Sheet.htm • Lyons, P., Beck, E., & Lyons, M. J. (2011). Capitalizing capitol capital: Child welfare • policy advocacy. Families in Society, 92(3), 269-275. doi:10.1606/1044-3894.4125 • McKergow, M., & Korman, H. (2009). In between - neither inside or outside: The radical simplicity of solution-focused brief therapy. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 28(2), 34-49. doi:10.1521/jsyt.2009.28.2.34 • Newsome, W. (2005). The impact of solution-focused brief therapy with at-risk junior • high school students. Children & Schools, 27(2), 83-90. • Onyett, S. (2009). Working appreciatively to improve services for children and families. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 14(4), 495-507. doi:10.1177/135910 4509338878 • Palusci, V. J., Yager, S., & Covington, T. M. (2010). Effects of a citizens review panel in • preventing child maltreatment fatalities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(5), 324-331. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.09.018 • Perkins, R. (2006). The effectiveness of one session of therapy using a single-session • therapy approach for children and adolescents with mental health problems. Psychology And Psychotherapy: Theory, Research And Practice, 79(2), 215-227. doi:10.1348/147608305X60523 • Radey, M. (2008). Frontline welfare work: Understanding social works role. Families in • Society, 89(2), 184-192. doi:10.1606/1044-3894.3733 • Smith, S. S. (2010). A preliminary analysis of narratives on the impact of training in • solution-focused therapy expressed by students having completed a 6-month training course. Journal Of Psychiatric And Mental Health Nursing, 17(2), 105-110. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01492.x • Steen, J. A. (2011). An exploratory study of the relationship between child protection • system stressors and case outputs. Administration in Social Work, 35(1), 46-59. doi:10.1080/03643107.2011.533620 • Sullivan, D. J., Antle, B. F., Barbee, A. P., & Egbert, R. (2009). The impact of training • and other variables on the preparation of the public welfare workforce. Administration In Social Work, 33(3), 278-296. doi:10.1080/03643100902987903 • U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008). Child maltreatment • 2008 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for • Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, • Children’s Bureau). Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_re • search/index.htm#can • Wehr, T. (2010). The phenomenology of exception times: Qualitative differences • between problem-focussed and solution-focussed interventions. Applied Cognitive • Psychology, 24(4), 467-480 • Westbrook, T. M., Ellis, J., & Ellett, A. J. (2006). Improving retention among public • child welfare workers: What can we learn from the insights and experiences of committed survivors? Administration in Social Work, 30(4), 37-62. doi:10.13 00/J147v30n04_04 • Waldfogel, J. (2000). Reforming child protective services. Child Welfare, 79(1), 43-57. • Yatchmenoff, D. K. (2005). Measuring client engagement from the client's perspective in • nonvoluntary child protective services. Research on Social Work Practice, 15(2), • 84-96. doi:10.1177/1049731504271605 • Zlotnik, J. L. (2003). The use of title IV-E training funds for social work education: An • historical perspective. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 7(1-2), 5-20.