Source: UNIV OF MINNESOTA submitted to
KINSHIP CARE IN RAMSEY COUNTY: THE IMPACT OF CASEY'S BREAKTROUGH SERIES COLLABORATIVE
Sponsoring Institution
State Agricultural Experiment Station
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0187167
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
MIN-55-049
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2006
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2009
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Gibson, P. A.
Recipient Organization
UNIV OF MINNESOTA
(N/A)
ST PAUL,MN 55108
Performing Department
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Non Technical Summary
There are sometimes barriers to families involved with kinship care in the accessing of child welfare agencies' services. This project will explore the impact of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) on kinship care services in Ramsey County Community Human Services.
Animal Health Component
75%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
25%
Applied
75%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
80260203080100%
Goals / Objectives
This revised AES project will examine the impact of the Casey Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) on kinship care service delivery in Ramsey County Community Human Services Department, St Paul, Minnesota. The BSC was a one year demonstration project to improve services to kinship care families. The five objectives of this study are to determine (a) the outcomes of the BSC, (b) consumers' (kinship caregivers) satisfaction with service delivery, (c) workers' experience of the BSC, (d) supervisors' experience of the BSC, and (e) administators' experience with the BSC. In addition, findings will be used to make recommendations regarding kinship care to urban and rural county public child welfare agencies for practice, future reseach and policy.
Project Methods
This study will involve four stages using both quantitive and qualitative approaches: Stage 1. Quantitative data will be collected in this stage. Analysis of statistical data (collected by the evaluation department) on permanency defined by the public child welfare system. Some of the indicators will include numbers of (a) kinship care placements, (b) kinship care adoptions, and (c) kinship care disruptions. These will be compared to data from previous years (2002 and 2003). Stage 2. Collect data from key stake holders about their experience of the BSC: (a) conduct focus group discussions with individual units (five units) of workers who were involved with the BSC, (b) conduct in-depth individual interviews with supervisors of those workers (five), and kinship care families (at least 10) who were served during the BSC. Stage 3. Analyze data, conduct member checks with those in focus groups and interviews, and make decision about conducting more interviews. Stage 4. Write report and make recommendations. Disseminate findings.

Progress 07/01/06 to 06/30/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: There were three most significant outputs during this project: (a) presentations, (b) training modules, and (c) research assistants' dissemination. Findings about the experiences of kinship families in the public child welfare system or kinship foster care were disseminated at professional conferences such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Minnesota Gerontological Society (MGS). Interest groups including the representatives from the Casey Foundation, the Louisiana Chapter of Grandparents as Parents, and a Grandparent Support group in North Minneapolis were also provided with findings. In addition, the principal investigator presented findings in a round table discussion with other experts on older adults at the National Council on Family Relations, 68th Annual Conference. Two training modules were developed from findings into strategies to improve social work practice with kinship families in public child welfare. These modules were placed on the website of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota to be accessible to child protective service workers locally and nationwide. They may be used free of charge. Research assistants for this project at the doctoral and master levels respectively used the findings to develop a poster presentation and policy paper. For the poster by the doctoral student, findings were focused on the research process with implications for qualitative research methods. The master-level policy paper emphasized the influenced of social policies on the experienced of caregivers in formal kinship care. PARTICIPANTS: Four research assistants worked on the project: Michaela Rinkle, Julian Keen, Katie Haas, and Shweta Singh. TARGET AUDIENCES: There are five groups of targeted audiences: Child protective workers, those who work in the kinship care area, consumer groups, kinship caregivers, policy-makers, and social work students. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: One major modification was a change in the data collection process. Record reviews were added with the approval of Institutional Review for the Protection of Human Subjects.

Impacts
Findings from this project resulted in building on the policy, research, literature, and practice with families in formal kinship care and the experience of caregivers, especially African American grandmothers, who are disproportionately involved in this role. It is anticipated that four major impacts have or may result from this project. First, the finding on the importance of the search process suggest that public child welfare put more resources and efforts into the kinship, which will result in reducing disproportion numbers of African American children in the foster care system with strangers. Second, the study found that placement in kinship care supports intergenerational connection for children in need of placement. The addition of connecting intergenerational relationships provides an opportunity for children to interact with older, wiser relations whose may not only as caregivers but also mentors and role models. Third, one very useful result from the study was the changing status of non-custodial fathers and their evolving role in foster care. A minority of child protective workers changed their attitudes and practice strategies with fathers by viewing them as a resource instead of thinking that they could only contribute to the financial support of their children. This new view has a limited presence in the literature but father involvement is seen as best practice in public child welfare. Given that not all workers practiced in this manner, the finding prompt administers and supervisors to support full involvement of noncustodial fathers. Fourth, a significant goal of the research is to assist workers to improved their practice strategies and provide information to kinship caregivers with the ultimate result of maintaining the kinship placement. In exploring this area, four themes emerged: (a) placement disruptions, (b) children needing special services, (c) characteristics of biological parents and (d) supportive services to caregivers. From these findings, an intervention practice approach was developed to reduce the challenges and increase the supports in the placement. It is suggested that intervention ought to be conducted in two phases: Pre-placement and Post-placement. The Pre-placement phase begins after the kinship search has been completed and the caregiver has been determined. It has three steps and focuses on preparation of caregivers and children to have a maximum adjustment to each other and the context of kinship care in a formal system. Post-placement phase occurs once the child is living with the caregiver. The literature noted that disruptions are mostly likely to occur early in kinship placement. The literature services to kinship caregiver at this phase revealed that caregivers prefer concrete services such a referrals and financial assistance instead of counseling from Child Protection Workers. Despite this disinterest, findings from this study revealed that both caregiver and children would benefit from such services

Publications

  • Nelson, J, Gibson, P.A., & Bauer, J. (2010). Kinship Care Youth and Child-Only Welfare Grant. Journal of Family Social Work


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Dissemination activities were focus on the key decision-making groups in public child welfare. On a national level, three activities were undertaken. A paper was presented at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting (APM) to social work educators and their students on the doctoral, masters, and bachelor level who are interested in child welfare issues. A manuscript of the findings was discussed and sent to Ms. Susan Ault and Traci Savory from the Casey Foundation. They are involve with the Breakthrough Series Collaborative methodology in Minnesota and are interested in its transferability to practice. In addition, a training module titled "Transformational Service Delivery in Kinship Foster Care: Influence of Casey's Breakthrough Series" was developed for the Center on Advance Study in Child Welfare and is housed on its website. On a local level, two activities were conducted. A poster of the findings was presented in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota by the doctoral research assistant for this project. Three meetings to provide an update on the findings were held with Ramsey County staff including the director of research, Dr. Cameron Counter and the Division Director of Child and Family Services, Ms. Janine Moore. Other dissemination activities occurred in the form of mentoring and consultation. The research assistants for this project, Michaela Rinkle and Juliana Keen wrote research and policy analysis papers respectively on findings for their classes. These papers were presented in their classes, thus disseminating the findings to their professors and peers. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Record reviews, content analysis of clients' records as data collection method, were requested and granted by Ramsey County and IRB. This change was requested because it will provide (a) documentation about services to clients (b) workers' interactions with clients, and (c) challenges encountered during service delivery. This information is not available from other data collection sources.

Impacts
Knowledge change. The results from data collection and analysis increase knowledge in the public child welfare community about the impact of the kinship search on intergenerational connections. The kinship search is a determining process in allowing a younger generation to live with an older generation of family members, thus making intergenerational connections possible. Without the kin search process, relatives would not be available to be considered for selection as caregivers. Also, many factors influenced whether it will be conducted or not, some of which are beyond the control of significant individuals involved such as CPS staff, relatives, and biological parents respectively. Five interrelated themes were found to be associated with the search process: (a) earlier searches are most effective, (b) widening the definition of kin, (c) promotion of kinship care as important to families, (d) biological fathers from invisible to a resource, and (e) hindering search process Change in action. In exploring changes in public child welfare, the lack of volunteers was seen as an indication of the sensitivity and possible e misinterpretation occurring regarding assessing workers' performance instead of worker's practices. This concern was discussed with both the director of research and division director at Ramsey County. Given the importance of research, both agreed to communicate the vital role that research play in their organization. The research team apprised the Director of research and division director of the lack of documentation in case records in the computer database system. When reviewing case files, there were inconsistencies about the kinship search. Lack of documentation could result in nonpayment for services. These key personnel have been this information under advisement.

Publications

  • Gibson, PA. & Rinkel, M. (2008). Preserving Intergenerational Connections: The Kinship Search in Public Child Welfare. Journal of Intergenerational Issues.
  • Rinkel, M. & Gibson, P.A. (2008). Kinship searches: Increasing the knowledge base of Social Workers. Paper presented at the 54th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education, Philadelphia, PA.


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Dissemination of the procedures in and findings thus far from the research have been shared with a group of grandmother caregivers at the Powderhorn Philips Community Center: Kinship care as an intervention to promote the well-being of children. Phillips-Powderhorn Cultural Wellness Center, November 8, 2006. It was also presented as a class lecture about kinship care and aging in SW8702. PARTICIPANTS: Those who worked on the project include Sara Lassie and Michael Rinkel from the University of Minnesota. Cameron Counter is the liaison from Ramsey Country Department of Human Services. TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audiences for this research are social workers, county child protection agencies' administrators and direct service workers, kinship caregivers and other professionals who work with kinship caregivers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The following changes were request of IRB. Changes one and two have been granted. Change three is being reviewed. Change 1: Replace focus groups data collection method with face-to-face interview data collection method for supervisors and workers using the same questions. It is anticipated that recruiting for personal interviews will result in more volunteers than for focus groups. The research liaison at the agency suggested the change as it would provide very busy professionals (informants; supervisors and workers) with the flexibility of scheduling according to their own time rather than having to be available at a pre-determined time. Change 2: Add collection of data in the form of face-to-face interviews with Extended Team members The Extended Team was very active during the one-year demonstration project and can add a perspective that differs from administrators, managers, supervisors, and workers. Change 4: Add content analysis of clients' records as a data collection method. Conducting record review would provide additionally data about services to kinship caregivers that are not available from other data collection sources.

Impacts
It is anticipated that the outcomes/impact of the findings from this research project have been: 1. Administrators at Ramsey County have become aware of the importance of conducting research on service delivery. 2. Administrators at Ramsey County have also become aware of a reluctance of the part of their staff to participate in research projects because of the limited numbers who volunteered for this study. With this awareness coupled with the importance of exploring service delivery, administrators must develop an incentive mechanism to reverse this trend. 3. Findings point to the existence of two opposite views of kinship care held by workers. One is that of an intervention, which is helpful to families and children in care. The other are attitudes held by workers that kinship care promotes an intergenerational parenting culture that does not support child well-being.

Publications

  • Gibson, P.A. (2007). Kinship care as a mental health intervention for African American Families. In S.L. Logan, R. Denby, and P.A. Gibson (Eds.) Mental Health in the African American Community (pp. 265-276). NY: Haworth Press.


Progress 07/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
This research project is in the beginning stage of development. Approval to conduct the study was obtained from the University of Minnesota's IRB and two meetings were held with official from Ramsey County to review and refine the procedures. One meeting with direct service workers and their supervisor was attended to apprised the staff of the project and present the procedures for recruitment. Documents have been obtained for the content analysis, which is in progress. Some of the principal investigator's findings from a prior AES study will be used to further examine kinship caregivers' interactions with the child protection system. One presentation on the goals and details of the study was provided to the Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center.

Impacts
While there is no current impact, it is anticipated that Ramsey County will use the findings from this study to revise some of its policies and procedures when serving kinship care families. Also, the findings will assist Ramsey County also to evaulate its participation in a one-year demonstration project in terms of the cost and benefits to its system.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Narrative: The focus of this project is on African American adolescents and their African American grandmother caregivers. In terms of the adolescents, the status of their well-being was found to be similar to those who had been legally adopted. This finding places into question child welfare's emphasis on permanency in the form of legal adoption. For grandmothers, findings indicate that they are concerned about the successes of their grandchildren and have created a definition of it for them. Grandmothers also exhibited seven parenting strengths, which are appropriate to the context of kinship care.

Impacts
This research is building knowledge on the family dynamics and the well-being of adolescents in the kinship care living arrangements. It continues to explore the importance of the biological parents' effect on child development, ways to support grandmother caregivers, and strategies to reduce family stress while increasing health family functions.

Publications

  • Gibson, P.A., & Scherer, C.C. (2005). The social construction of success for grandchildren by African American grandmothers. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 7(2), 63-75.
  • Gibson, P. A. (2005). Intergenerational parenting from the perspective of African American Grandmothers. Family Relations, 54(2), 280-297.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Since the last reporting period, the project has focused on African American adolescents' knowledge about and contact with their biological parents (both mothers and fathers). The sample of African American adolescents raised by African American grandmothers who answered questions about knowledge and contact regarding their biological parents was refined. The sample of 436 of adolescents living in kinship was reduced 262, which includes grandmothers and aunts. All other relatives were excluded. T-Tests were used to assess differences between grandmothers and aunts on adolescent variables such as age, educational level, and depression. No significant differences were found. Four different scales were created for knowledge about biological parents and contact with biological parents according to the gender of each parent. The knowledge scales contained eight questions about each parent. There were 10 questions about contact for mothers and fathers respectively. Contact was measured using the following range: 'no possible contact (death of parent(s),' 'no contact,' 'little contact,' 'lots of contact'. Analyses are being conducted on the influence of contact with biological parents (by gender) on adolescent outcomes such as school performance, depression, anxiety, and antisocial behavior. A manuscript is in progress.

Impacts
Given the paucity of research on knowledge about and contact with biological parents for adolescents in kinship care, the findings from this study will provide social workers with much needed information that can be readily applied to practice. The lack of information on the influence of knowledge about biological parents on adolescents results in unclear guidelines. Social workers lack guidelines on whether to provide information about biological parents or not including whether to encourage grandmothers and aunts to do. Whether contact with biological parents has an effect on adolescents will have an impact on Child Welfare' policy on visitation between biological parents and their children in kinship care.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
At this stage of the project, the sample of African American caregivers and their adolescents in care have been identified. A total of 4973 African American families were identified using the social constructionist theory (Harris, 2001). Of that number, 436 adolescents were living in kinship care without their biological parents present in the household. These adolescents were compared to their peers who were legally adopted on six scales. These scales were constructed for individual characteristics, parent-child relationships, and community level characteristics. The findings showed a small but statistically significant difference in perceived care. Thus, adolescents in kinship care perceived higher levels of caring from parents/caregivers than did those in legal adoption. In addition, this study identified four predictors of well-being for African American adolescents: marital status, household size, school troubles, and religiosity. African American adolescents in kinship care have similar psychosocial characteristics as their peers who have been legally adopted. These findings are being prepared into a manuscript for publication. In addition, further analyses are planned to explore contact with biological parents and issues faced by grandmother caregivers.

Impacts
The results discussed above are being targeted toward direct services to African American adolescents in kinship care. These findings support the creation of more direct services to adolescents in this situation, especially in the form of support groups. While support groups for caregivers continue to grow, there are few for adolescents. In addition, support groups for caregivers can incorporate these findings in their curriculums.

Publications

  • Gibson, P.A., & Abrams, L. S. (2003). Racial differences in engaging, recruiting, and interviewing in African American communities. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, 2(4), 457-476.
  • Gibson, P.A. (2003). Barriers, Lessons learned, and helpful hints: Grandmother caregivers talk about service utilization. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 39(4), 55-74.
  • Gibson, P.A. (2002). Caregiving affects family relationships of African American grandmothers as new mothers again: A phenomenological perspective. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28(3), 341-353.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
Raising a Vulnerable Generation: African American Grandmother Caregivers: Preparing their Grandchildren to Succeed in the 21st Century. STAGE OF REPORT. Preliminary analysis resulted in a need to collect more data from personal interviews. Thus, six additional interviews were completed. Currently, the total sample contains 34 grandmother caregivers: 15 from personal interviews and 19 are focus group participants. FINDINGS. Preliminary analysis found that grandmother caregivers wanted their grandchildren to attain success but were simultaneously concerned about the challenges to attaining it. They viewed education, religion, and a close family connection singularly or in combination as pathways to success. Grandmothers advised the avoidance of gangs, drugs, and guns. They also monitored their grandchildren's activities and demonstrated affection toward them. Grandmothers involved their grandchildren in religious and recreational activities and used the accomplishments of familiar adults as examples. Challenges to attaining success were many. Some grandmothers found that they needed to build closer a relationship with their grandchildren prior to talking about becoming a success. Others realized that their children's development had been compromised to an extent that intervention was needed to promote stability before working on attaining success. Other challenges were the lack of resources in the communities; negative influences of peers and in the neighborhoods; and contact with the biological parents, which was unhelpful. To resolve concerns, grandmothers sought either professional assistance or help from other family members or close friends. SIGNIFICANCE. These findings provide a guide for application with caregivers who are parenting at-risk children and other alternative family forms that have non-biological caregivers. They can be incorporated into further studies to assess their existence with a large sample of caregivers across racial/cultural groups and caregiving relationships.

Impacts
It is anticipated that the findings will have an impact on direct practice and policy guiding work with non-biological family forms. It is hoped that these data will reveal the strengths operating in these families, thus moving them to a less marginal position in society.

Publications

  • There are no publications for this study for 2002.


Progress 01/01/01 to 12/31/01

Outputs
In terms of status of work, the recruitment stage has been completed. The data collection and analysis stages are in progress. Data have been collected from a total of 28 grandmother caregivers: nine participated in personal face-to-face interviews and 19 in focus group discussions. Preliminary analyses have been conducted on five of the interviews. In addition, continuing approval has been granted by IRB. While no findings from the data are currently available, a program administrator has commented on her perception of the influence this research study has had on the grandmothers in her program. The critical theory approach used in this study is designed to raise the consciousness of people who are experiencing problems with systems. These grandmother caregivers interact with numerous social service systems and have voiced concerns about problems with limited services for their grandchildren. The administrator observed that since participating in the study, many grandmothers in her program have initiated discussions about protecting their grandchildren from negative elements in their neighborhoods. They have also talked about the need for more recreational programs to support their grandchildren's healthy development.

Impacts
Impact cannot be determined at this point in the research process.

Publications

  • There are no publications from this study for 2001.


Progress 01/01/00 to 12/31/00

Outputs
The research project, "Raising a Vulnerable Generation: African American Grandmother Caregivers Preparing Their Grandchildren to Succeed in the 21st Century" is in the beginning stage of work. It has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Human Subjects Committee. Community service agencies that provide services and programs to grandmother caregivers are in the process of being recruited to host focus groups. Volunteers of America Senior Resource Center in Minnesota and Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul have agreed to host groups. Meetings have been held with the administrators at Sabathanit Community Center and St. Paul Urban League. Plans are in process to meet with the "Wise Women," a group of African American grandmother caregivers and Lutheran Social Services. By the next reporting period, it is anticipated that data collection and analysis will be partially completed.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • No publications reported this period