PREVENTATIVE PROGRAM FOR AT-RISK FAMILIES OF CHILD MALTREATMENT: USING HOME VISITING AND INTERGENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Child maltreatment is a universal problem with severe life-long effects. One thousand six hundred sixty children were placed into foster care from January 2021 to December 2021 in Riverside County (California Child Welfare Indicators Project, n.d.). Child maltreatment prevention efforts have moved beyond a public awareness tactic to highlight the essential responsibility of the community, early intervention, and parenting education to help keep children safe from maltreatment. Literature has shown that home visiting interventions aim to improve protective factors for parents by having a lay or nurse home visitor provide support and education to parents in areas such as child health and development, attachment, and parenting education (MacLeod & Nelson, 2000). While child maltreatment continues to be a public health concern, innovative approaches to preventive programs are necessary to better serve the at-risk families and children against child maltreatment. This project utilized the community engagement and social innovation (CESI) model as the framework for engaging with the community in a comprehensive and collaborative approach to creating an innovative approach to home visiting. Following the observation and identification stages, integration, engagement, and assessment came from a formal relationship with a study conducted with stakeholders. Results of the study provided implications for home visiting programs, including the importance of understanding the program regardless of role and a clear strategy of how the program challenges child maltreatment occurrence. An innovative home visiting model was created to incorporate intergenerational relationships in a home visiting program to reduce child maltreatment. The home visiting model was founded on a theoretical framework with the theory of change, the theory of human motivation, the social-ecological model of health theory, social learning theory, and intergenerational practice. It Takes a Village services follows a general framework of a home visiting program with added mentorship and advisory board components. Successful intervention implementation is intended to enhance Child Welfare outcomes related to child safety and child and family well-being. To evaluate the innovation, three types of evaluations will occur in the pilot of the model. The first evaluation will answer the research question: Is there an association between supportive relationships and the manifestation of child maltreatment? The second evaluation will answer the research question: What are the perspectives and experiences of at-risk families who engaged and established a relationship with an older volunteer? The third form of evaluation will be based on program performance. The innovative approach of intergenerational relationships in home visiting offers implications for future research on the effectiveness of the relationships associated with child maltreatment. Other areas of interest for future research include specific components of intergenerational relationships and their effect on parent engagement and retention rates. The examples and relationships older volunteers can provide for families can help tackle the social problem of child maltreatment with the decrease of child abuse and neglect in the communities.
A capstone project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Social Work