Evaluating Parents in Partnership: A Preliminary Study of a Child Welfare Intervention Designed to Increase Reunification.
Enano, Stephanie. Freisthler, Bridget. Perez-Johnson, Derrick. Lovato-Hermann, Kristina.
Published: March-April 2017
Journal of Social Service Research
Vol. 43, No. 2 , p. 236-245
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Child welfare systems struggle with how best to accomplish reunification for children who have been removed from their home due to child maltreatment. Parent mentor programs may facilitate the reunification process. In these programs, parents who have successfully reunified with their children after child welfare involvement provide support and guidance for parents currently navigating the system. The current study examines (a) whether distance was a barrier to participation in orientation of a parent mentor program (called Parents in Partnership [PIP]) for 98 parents involved with the child welfare system and (b) whether participation affected reunification outcomes for 73 parents. Logistic regression models showed parents who lived closer to the PIP orientation location were more likely to participate in the orientation. Further, parents who attended PIP orientation were 5 times more likely to reunify with their children. Parent mentor programs may be one way to increase the likelihood of reunification for families involved in the child welfare system and may increase the engagement of fathers involved with the child welfare system. Future research should examine whether participation in parent mentor programs reduces the length of time children stay in foster care in addition to increasing rates of reunification. (Author abstract)
family reunification; foster children; child abuse; mentor programs; parent education; parenting skills; child rearing; barriers