Thesis

Child welfare caseworkers' strengths-based practice when working with parents suffering from substance use disorders in the Central Valley and its connection to perceived organizational support

The purpose of this quantitative study was threefold: 1) describe and better understand application of strengths-based practice (SBP) by Child Welfare caseworkers, when working with parents suffering from Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), 2) describe and better understand perceived organizational support (POS) within Child Welfare agencies, and 3) describe whether POS and demographic factors are related to SBP. SBP has not been well measured in Child Welfare, while POS has previously been measured in Child Welfare, mostly to address high turnover. In addition to turnover, POS may affect performance, which includes SBP. This study was conducted in California’s Central Valley, specifically in Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties. All three counties administered the SBP questionnaire (n=94). Additionally, Merced and San Joaquin County administered the POS questionnaire (n=37). The SBP scores pertaining to empowerment and sensitivity-knowledge were high, while the SBP scores pertaining to community-culture were low. In regards to POS, participants had certain areas of concern such as being taken advantage of. Spearman’s Correlation Coefficient did not establish a significant relationship between POS and SBP or between POS and three SBP factors. Bivariate tests were completed to analyze relationships or differences in SBP based on demographic factors and there were no significant relationships or differences. The major implications of the study for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

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