How the Perspective of Fathers Contributes to Disproportionality: A Real Discussion Kilolo Brodie, MSW, Ph.D. California State University Stanislaus Natasha Paddock, MSW Regional Director – Region C National Association of Social Workers - California The purpose of this webinar is to: 1. Better understand the relationship between father involvement and disproportionality in child welfare 2. Examine the barriers to father involvement including institutional and social worker gender bias 3. Discuss the benefits of incorporating co-parenting as a method to improve parent communication 4. Advocate for culturally relevant practices and increase workers’ competence when working with fathers STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: 1. African American children are disproportionately represented in child welfare 2. African American children remain in foster care longer than their counterparts 3. Race + class = disproportionality (McRoy, 2008) 4. Little focus/considerations for fathers in CPS 5. Gender bias in child welfare 6. Mother’s inclusion or EXCLUSION fathers 7. Lack of research devoted to father involvement and gender bias REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: Perceptions of Fathers: 1. Ineffective & unimportant parents (O’Donnell, 2001) 2. Breadwinners vs. social/emotional providers (Black et al., 1999) 3. Conditioned to believe if they cannot provide (financially), their presence is not warranted (Greif et al., 2011) REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: Mothers as Gatekeepers of Fathers: 1. May/may not provide father(s)’ whereabouts 2. May/may not provide identifying information 3. General lack of communication about fathers & paternal relatives REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: Transference (FATHERS): 1.Negative thoughts/beliefs about child welfare 2.Negative interactions/outcomes with women Counter-transference (STAFF & SYSTEMS): 1.Negative outcomes of relationships with men 2.Unresolved issues between female workers and men/father figures 3.Racial, social, educational, economic stereotypes 4.Unintentional gender bias Who is “the system”? THEORIES, MODELS & FRAMEWORK: 1. Family Systems Theory 2. Empowerment Perspective 3. Family-Centered Perspective 4. Co-parenting Model RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What are the experiences of fathers regarding their parenting? 2. Experiences (IV) Parenting (DV) How do fathers describe their interactions with social workers? Descriptions (IV) Experiences (DV) METHODOLOGY Research Design: Exploratory/descriptive study Mixed methods – focus groups and self-administered surveys 3 primary subject areas o Fathering and co-parenting o Fatherhood involvement o Gender bias and social workers METHODOLOGY Sampling Plan • • • Nonprobability Purposive Targeted a mandated parenting class for men RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES & TECHNIQUES • CBO in the Bay Area • Gift card incentives were offered METHODOLOGY Instrumentation: 33 Likert scale items Interview guide approach (focus groups) 3 main categories o Fathering and co-parenting o Fatherhood involvement o Gender bias and social workers METHODOLOGY Instrumentation: Questions constructed with feedback from directors of CW orgs, CPS line workers, & social science researchers, in conjunction with a review of the literature, to determine the appropriateness of the tool. Face validity was determined. METHODOLOGY Protection of Human Subjects: University IRB compliance Informed consent procedures Focus group confidentiality METHODOLOGY Data Collection: Surveys were administered first, followed by the focus group discussions 4 separate focus groups within one year METHODOLOGY Quantitative Data Analysis: Univariate analysis Descriptive statistics Qualitative Data Analysis: Neuman, W. L. (2003). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Boston: Pearson Education. Displayed in tables Findings: DEMOGRAPHICS Sample • • 33 male respondents All from racial minority backgrounds African American Asian Latino Middle Eastern Pacific Islander Latino & African American Findings: DEMOGRAPHICS Findings: DEMOGRAPHICS Age Frequency Valid Percent Cumulative Percent 20-25 7 23.3 23.3 26-30 6 20.0 43.3 31-35 5 16.7 60.0 36-40 5 16.7 76.7 51+ 3 10.0 86.7 under 20 2 6.7 93.3 46-50 2 6.7 100.0 Findings: DEMOGRAPHICS Findings: FATHERING & CO-PARENTING What does co-parenting mean to you? Frequency Valid Percent All responsibilities divided in half (50/50) 18 54.5 Parents agree 100% 6 18.2 Parents share joint legal and physical custody 3 9.1 Both parents sign legal paperwork & joint custody 2 6.1 All responsibilities are shared 50/50 & parents must agree 100% 1 3.0 All responsibilities are shared 50/50 & both parents sign legal paperwork 1 3.0 All responsibilities 50/50 and joint legal & physical custody 2 6.1 Total 33 100.0 Findings: FATHERING & CO-PARENTING Findings: FATHERING & CO-PARENTING Conflict About… Some of the All/Most of Never/ time the time Very rarely Where children live 57% 24% 18% Father spends money 57% 15% 27% Mother spends money 54% 21% 24% Visitation 60% 15% 24% Child support 69% 15% 15% Findings: FATHERING & CO-PARENTING How often do you & child’s mother… Never/ Very rarely Some of the All/Most of time the time Make important decisions together 22% 19% 59% Discuss school progress 27% 14% 59% Discuss discipline 22% 29% 48% Findings: FATHERHOOD INVOLVEMENT Findings: FATHERHOOD INVOLVEMENT Findings: FATHERHOOD INVOLVEMENT Always/ Most of the time Not very involved Not involved at all How involved are you in your children’s lives? 94% 3% 3% How involved is your side of the family? 78% 19% 3% Does your family support your child’s events? 87% 6% 6% Findings: GENDER BIAS & SOCIAL WORK Never/ Very rarely Some of the time All/Most of the time Felt treated w/ respect 52% 5% 42% Felt valued 55% 15% 35% 31% 21% 47% 47% 12% 41% SW saw me as important an factor in child’s life SW believed my role was for financial support Findings: GENDER BIAS & SOCIAL WORK SA SW treated me the same as the children’s mother SW didn’t want my input regarding the child’s case A D 12% 17% 35% 5% SD Not Sure 0% 35% 11% 22% 28% 33% Findings: GENDER BIAS & SOCIAL WORK Female social worker included me in the case plan Never Very rarely Some of the time Most of the time All of the time 29% 6% 35% 12% 17% Findings: GENDER BIAS & SOCIAL WORK Have you ever had a male social worker? (n=23) 87% = “No” **Was your experience with male social workers any different from working with female social workers? (n=8) 0% = Very different 37% = Some difference/Not much difference 50% = Not sure Findings: GENDER BIAS & SOCIAL WORK If you’ve never had a male social worker, do you think it would have made any difference? (n=15) 7% = “Yes” 53% = “No” Findings: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS/CODING Neuman’s 5-part plan: Sorting & Classifying - Data were organized by each survey question Open Coding - Assigned initial codes or labels to condensed data into categories; Themes/labels were created based on our 2 research questions, the literature review, and frequency of terms used by participants Axial Coding – Organization of the themes; concentrated on process and conceptual categories Findings: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS/CODING Neuman’s 5-part plan (cont.): Selective Coding – Scanned the data again and reviewed the previously established codes; selected cases that illustrated major themes & concepts Interpreting & Elaborating – Identified major themes and categories are related to the literature (existing knowledge base); noted comparisons and contrasts; Offered explanations for the findings; working theory (explanations) were then formulated QUALITATIVE THEME: “DYNAMICS” [CPS] “is implosive…breaking you down from the inside” – the CW system “CPS is like the police, like the enemy” “the courts are biased” – proponents of mothers “it’s real Jim Crowish” – the CW system “[Social workers] make it so mom will be the best parent [and the one] with services” – bias Summary of the Findings SW gender did not matter Father self-identified as “active” and “involved” (even though some fathers had court orders to stay away from their children) High involvement of paternal relatives Many of the fathers reported being gainfully employed with a skilled trade Overall, the fathers reported a positive coparenting experience Limitations of the Study • • • • Survey Language Sample size Social desirability Instrument not pretested Implications for the Future of Child Welfare Research Sampling more fathers of color- African American fathers Operational definition of “active” and “involved” The impact of gender (male) on child welfare case planning Implications for the Future of Child Welfare Education Title IV-E child welfare training projects Social work education - GP, HBSE, research and field practicum Paradigm shift - value placed on fathers Implications for the Future of Child Welfare Practice Legislation that supports low-income fathers and addresses barriers to father involvement (employment, housing, and child welfare visibility) Collaboration of services (mental health, criminal justice, public social services, child welfare) that addresses inter-systemic issues concerning fathers Mandated child welfare trainings that emphasizes cultural awareness of low income communities and best practices for engaging fathers Tipping the Scales Disproportionality Father Involvement •Family History •Extended Relatives •Resources References • American Humane Association. (2013). Fatherhood initiative. Retrieved from http://www.americanhumane.org/children/programs/fatherhood-initiative/ • Black, M. M., Dubowitz, H. Starr, Jr, R. H. (1999). African American fathers in low income, urban families: Development, behavior, and home environment of their three-year-old children. Child Development, 70(4), 967-978. • California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC). (2013). Title IV-E child welfare training program. Retrieved from http://calswec.berkeley.edu/title-iv-echild-welfare-training-program. • Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2010, August). National quality improvement center on non-resident fathers and the child welfare system discretionary grant. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/qicnrf.cfm • Coakley, T. M., (2008). Examining African American father’s involvement in permanency planning: An effort to reduce racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 407-417. References • Coakley, T. M., (2013). The influence of father involvement on child welfare permanency outcomes: A secondary analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 174-182. • Council on Social Work Education. (2012, August). Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (Educational Policy 2.3—Signature Pedagogy: Field Education). Retrieved from http://www.cswe.org/File.aspx?id=41861 • Curtis, C., Denby, R. (2011). African American children in the child welfare system: Requiem or reform. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 5, 111-137. • English, D. J., Brummel, S., & Martens, P. (2009). Fatherhood in the Child Welfare System: Evaluation of a Pilot Project to Improve Father Involvement. Journal Of Public Child Welfare, 3(3), 213-234. • Friere, P. (2002). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc. • Greif, G. L., Jones, J. T., Worthy, J., White, E., Davis, W., & Pitchford, E. (2011). 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