214459 Social Workers' Demeanor and Length of Engagement in Project SAFE: A Voluntary Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention Program

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pauline Tan, MPH, CHES , Project SAFE, The Help Group, Van Nuys, CA
Sheri Strahl, MPH , Project SAFE, The Help Group, Van Nuys, CA
This study investigates the duration of engagement in Project SAFE, a child abuse/neglect prevention program, in relation to the referring Children's Social Worker (CSW). The objective of this study is to determine the association between CSW demeanor and the likelihood of continued client engagement for the duration of the 6 month program. Methodology included using the client database to track drop outs, graduation rates, and frequency of engagement trends. A focus group was also conducted with Project SAFE therapists to determine the reasons given by clients for dropping out. Lastly, client names were linked to their respective referring CSWs. This list was compared to the results of a previous study; as it identified specific CSWs as possessing punitive or supportive demeanors.

This study is a follow up to the original study, Predictors of Participation in Project SAFE: Scare Tactics, which revealed that the CSWs with positive and supportive demeanors had the lowest program acceptance rates. This was in comparison to the CSWs with the punitive demeanors who had the highest rates of client acceptance into Project SAFE. These findings begged the question of the durability of coerced engagement which is explored herein.

This follow-up study raises important points. While scare tactics may increase client acceptance of services, they may not have the same impact on sustained engagement

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of initial support to the client when initiating referrals to a child abuse/neglect prevention program. 2. Explain 1 reason to why instilled fear can tend to decrease a personís readiness to engage in any program. 3. List two reasons that clients give when dropping out of voluntary abuse and neglect programs.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have presented at the 2009 APHA conference regarding the original study. I have worked 3 plus years in the field of program evaluation and I have been exposed to non-profit child abuse/neglect work for over 2 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.