University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover


This poster will present a review and evaluation of evidence-based practices currently utilized in training, supporting, and involving foster parents in permanency planning for youth in TFC. The evaluation of the evidence-based practice is based on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse Rating Scale. Models that promote effective foster parent and specialized training models and modalities; support services such as foster parent benefits, integrated models of training and support respite, and social support; agency practices for working with foster parents and TFC youth; active participation in permanency planning; collaboration of birth parent visitations; and mentorship of birth families.
Author(s)/Presenter(s): Kristine N. Piescher, Project Coordinator, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

This poster will present findings from a qualitative study on Southeast Asian (SEA) elderly mental health from the perspectives of mental health professionals. Participants will learn (1) how SEA elders identify and define mental health, (2) the barriers to seeking professional help, (3) traditional/ indigenous treatments to treating depression, (4) ways to help SEA elders to recognize depression, (5) effective practices with elderly suffering from depression, and (6) the implications for professionals (social workers, mental health providers) working with depressed SEA elders.

Author(s)/Presenter(s): Hee Yun Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Social Work; Kathy Lytle, MSW, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Social Work; Terry Lum, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Social Work; and Pa Nhia Yang, MA, Ph.D. Student, Department of Family Social Science

This research emphasizes patterns of association between an Index of Social Well-Being and welfare capacity (factors include per capita spending by county on various economic supports, and school performance data) of Minnesota counties. The Index is a multi-variable measurement of eleven variables of social, economic, and organizational factors for county units in the state. The variables include median family income, percent of people 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of families above poverty line, percent of housing with complete plumbing, infant death rate per 1,000 live births, total death rate per 1,000 persons, influenza an pneumonia death rate per 10,000 persons, percent of children under 18 living with two parents, percent of female-headed households with children under the age of 19, suicide rate per 10,000 persons, and cirrhosis death rate per 10,000 persons.
The general pattern depicted by the Index shows that metropolitan counties have higher well-being than rural counties. Preliminary data on welfare capacity indicates that higher percentages of people in rural counties are receiving medical assistance, food stamps, and welfare/MFIP. However, payments per capita to people in rural counties are significantly lower than in urban counties, particularly in the case of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which is the state’s welfare reform program.
Author(s)/Presenter(s): Dario Menanteau-Horta, Professor; Jennifer Simmelink, Graduate Research Assistant

This is exploratory study describes homeless students in Minnesota using statewide administrative data. Three school districts, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth agreed to participate. We examined education and child welfare outcomes for students identified as homeless and found that they experienced significantly more maltreatment and spent more days in foster care prior to being identified as homeless than non-homeless children. Homeless students had slightly higher rates of special education use than non-homeless students during and before the study year and while attendance rates of homeless students declined in the years up to homeless identification, they improved one year later. The study represents the first-known examination of this population from a large geographic and multi-jurisdictional perspective and has implications for estimating the total number of students affected by homelessness (which is unknown) as well as providing preliminary evidence of the stabilizing nature of the McKinney-Vento policy, which pays for transportation and other supports to homeless students to keep them enrolled and engaged in their home schools. The findings from this study, which were based upon data from 2005-2006, represent a minimum of outcome conditions, given the dramatic increases in the number of homeless families in Minnesota today.
Author(s)/Presenter(s): Anita M. Larson, Research Fellow and Danielle Meehan, Graduate Research Assistant

Over the past twenty years, studies have found that children and youth with disabilities experience a higher rate of maltreatment than children and youth without disabilities (Crosse et al 1992; Sullivan & Knutsen, 2000). However, there are little or limited data available on the how children with disabilities are served within the child welfare system (Lightfoot & LaLiberte, 2005), as well as the prevalence, the characteristics, or the out-of-home placement status of children with disabilities who are actively involved in the child welfare system. This study uses state administrative data to explore the prevalence and characteristics of children with disabilities within the child welfare system in Minnesota, comparing the characteristics of children with disabilities with those of children without disabilities. Findings indicate that a substantial proportion of children with substantiated maltreatment reports in 2005 had a disability diagnosis in the state’s child welfare system, and those children are more likely to be in out-of-home placements.
Author(s)/Presenter(s): Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Katharine Hill, MSW, MPP, Research Assistant, School of Social Work

The study “Hidden homelessness: Refugees and unstable housing in the Twin Cities” explores the barriers to stable housing, coping strategies, and effects of unstable housing on families and children of refugees and immigrants in the Twin cities. It is a three phase study, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods to provide a bigger picture about housing situations among immigrants and refugees. Phase 1 includes semi-structured interviews of 15 refugees and immigrants in the Twin Cities. Phase 2 uses a self-administered questionnaire including 70 questions to understand the scope of unstable housing, utilization of social services and help seeking, social capital, acculturation, child welfare, and mental health. Phase 3 will include 5 focus groups to explore in-depth culturally-based coping strategies and impacts of unstable housing on different ethnic groups.

Author(s)/Presenter(s): C. David Hollister - Professor, Social Work; Lisa Thornquist - Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness; Hyojin Im, Doctoral Student, Social Work; Hoa Nguyen, MSW Student, Social Work; and Jennifer Simmelink, Doctoral Student, Social Work

Child welfare agencies are tasked with assessing the potential for future child maltreatment. The presence of domestic violence and children’s exposure to it are factors that have been included in many current risk assessment models used by child welfare agencies. The Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse recently created a self-report assessment tool, the Child Exposure to Domestic Violence (CEDV) scale for use with children aged 10-16. Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse and The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare jointly surveyed 152 child welfare workers from Minnesota and gathered their perceptions of 17 items on the CEDV, two hypothetical scenarios of child exposure to domestic violence, and demographic information. The results provide insight into how child welfare workers could use the CEDV in their practice, how child exposure to domestic violence may impact child welfare service offerings, and how child involvement in domestic violence is perceived in risk assessments. Further development of assessment tools and training for child welfare workers on their implementation is discussed.

Author(s)/Presenter(s): Traci LaLiberte, Ph.D., Director of Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare; Jeffrey Edleson, Ph.D., Director of Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse; Narae Shin, Ph. D. Student School of Social Work; and Jessica Bills, MSW Student

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