A Pilot Study to Establish Reliability and Validity: The Dimensions of Conflict Separated Families

A Pilot Study to Establish Reliability and Validity: The Dimensions of Conflict Separated Families
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  Spring 2007 Volume 51 Number 2 1 OACAS JOURNAL    JOURNAL Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies SPRING 2007 VOLUME 51 NUMBER 2 FEATURES     The voice of child welfare in Ontario  Message from the ExecutiveDirector By Jeanette Lewis ........... 1  Suggestions Made by Young People in Care for Improving their Placements By Annie Carroll, Cynthia Vincent, & Robert J. Flynn .............................. 2   Family Group Conferencethrough the Lens of ADR  By Jeanette Schmid & Darlene Sykes ...................................................... 6   Building Quality AsuranceCapacity in Ontario Child Welfare Agencies By Ann Lumsden, Deborah Goodman,Lorna Grant, Bruce Leslie, Gabe  Minor, & Jennifer Penton .......... 11  Native Child Welfare and Issues inCulturally Competent Social Work Practice By Carmen Moody & Robert Onysko.................................................... 17    A Pilot Study to EstablishReliability and Validity: TheDimensions of Conflict inSeparated Families: Part II By Rachel Birnbaum &  Michael Saini .............................. 23  The   Journal is a major Ontario source of information for children’s services professionals.The   Journal is published quarterly and distributed to more than 9,000 recipients.Requests for subscription information, notice of change of address and undeliverable copies should be sent to:  Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies 75 Front Street East, 2nd Floor Toronto, Ontario M5E 1V9  Public website: www.oacas.orgMembers’ website: www2.oacas.orgOPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHORS ANDNOT THOSE OF OACAS.  National Library of Canada ISSN 0030-283x   JOURNAL  Max is the first son to Suzanne Piers, Program  Assistant for Information Services at OACAS.  Spring 2007 Volume 51 Number 2 1 OACAS JOURNAL M ESSAGE F ROM    THE E XECUTIVE D IRECTOR     T he beginning of a new era in child welfare wassignaled with the proclama-tion of Bill 210 – Child andFamily Services Statute Law  Amendment Act 2006 – onNovember 30, 2006. These changes inlegislation provide new opportunities forpermanency, for improved court processes,and for services that respond to family needsand strengths while continuing to ensure thatchildren are safe. OACAS supported thechanges through extensive training, develop-ment and pilot testing of the Single Informa-tion System (SIS) and the re-development of current IT systems to ensure InformationManagement capacity. The full implementa-tion of these changes will require time andattention during the next two to three years,but once full implementation is achieved,there is potential to change public perceptionof Children’s Aid Societies.OACAS continues to advance the serviceneeds of absrcinal and First Nationschildren and families by working closely with ANCFSAO, advocating for a funding in-crease for two agencies and supporting thedevolution of services to First Nations and Absrcinal children by First Nations agenciesin the province. The OACAS youth program was re-developed and YouthCAN now has two Youth Coordinators working to support re-gional youth initiatives in all zones in theareas of communications, advocacy and net- working. When OACAS was incorporated in 1912 – some 95 years ago — its primary purpose was stated as promotion of “mutualhelpfulness among the various Children’s Aid Societies throughout the Province of Ontario”. Throughout the year, the Boardof Directors and the staff members have worked closely with members to deliver in-formation, advocacy and direct services.Giving a strong voice to member needs andresponding with determination and strengthhas been, and remains, the first priority forOACAS. This edition of the Journal contains articlesrelated to youth in care, family group confer-ences, quality assurance and absrcinal child welfare and issues among other very interest-ing topics. Enjoy the reading!    Jeanette Lewis  Challenges and Changes Ahead   Spring 2007 Volume 51 Number 2 2 OACAS JOURNAL  According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC; United Nations, 2003), all children and  youth have the right to express their opinions about matters affecting them. Thus, organizations serving young people have the responsibility of providing them with opportunities for pre- senting their views. Robbie Gilligan (2000) has argued that this basic CRC tenet, which extends to young people living in  foster care, is currently being stressed in international out-of- home-care policy. The Ontario Looking After Children (OnLAC)Project  As other researchers have previously found, we havediscovered in the OnLAC project, that the overalllevel of satisfaction is high among young people liv-ing in foster homes in Ontario; considerably higherthan among those in group homes (Flynn, Robitaille,& Ghazal, 2006). Despite this good level of place-ment satisfaction, there is clearly a need to ask young people in care how their current placements can bemade even better. In the OnLAC project, we do soeach year by means of an open-ended question thatencourages those 10 years of age and older to say,concretely, how they think their current placementscould be improved. This question is part of the sec-ond Canadian adaptation of the LAC Assessmentand Action Record (AAR-C2; Flynn, Ghazal, & Le-gault, 2006). Asking for suggestions about improving the currentplacement fits well with the overall purpose of OnLAC, which is focused on promoting high-quality substitute parenting and positive outcomes. In severalconversational interviews, the youth, child welfare worker and foster parent (or other adult caregiver)complete together the form of the AAR-C2 that isappropriate to the young person’s age. The AAR-C2assesses the young person’s needs and monitors hisor her development in seven areas: health, education,identity, family and social relationships, social presen-tation, emotional and behavioural development andself-care skills (Ward, 1995). The open-ended ques-tion on improvements to the current placement isembedded within the family and social relationshipssection of the AAR-C2. It reads as follows: “Whatimprovements, if any, in your current living situation would you like to see happen in the coming year?” (Flynn et al., 2006). The present paper summa-rizes the main themes that we found in the responsesthat youths in care gave to this question during thefourth year of the OnLAC project, 2004-2005. Who Were the Young People? Our sample was composed of 500 young people inout-of-home in Ontario (57% males and 43% fe-males) who completed the AAR-C2 in 2004-2005.Seventy-six percent resided in foster homes, 13% inkinship care and 11% in group homes. Youths aged10 to 20 were chosen because, in the AAR-C2, they speak for themselves, whereas foster parents or otheradult caregivers answer for children who are nineyears of age or younger. The number of responsesgiven by the youths ranged from one to nine. Of the500 young people, 43% left the open-ended questionblank, 16% said that no improvements were neededor desired, and 6% provided responses that we couldnot interpret clearly (that is, the responses were unre-lated to the open-ended question posed, vague, orotherwise not interpretable). Thus, the respondentsconstituted only 35% of the total sample, making atotal of 265 suggestions for improvements in theircurrent placements. Suggestions Made by the Young People in Care forImproving their Placements By Annie Carroll, Cynthia Vincent, & Robert J. Flynn   Spring 2007 Volume 51 Number 2 3 OACAS JOURNAL . 1 - SELF (20% of total number of 265improvements suggested)   4 - PLACEMENT: CHANGE IN TYPE ORLOCATION (6% of suggested improvements)   • Performing better in school • Getting involved more in sports • Improving their physical appearance • Decreasing their delinquent and negativebehaviours • Improving their interpersonal relationships • Getting a job • Other  • Moving on to independent or semi-independent liv-ing • Return to live with birth family • General (i.e. move out with my boyfriend, changeplacement) 2 - BIRTH FAMILY(6% of suggested improvements)   5 - PLACEMENT: PHYSICAL FEATURES ORSURROUNDINGS (20% of suggestedimprovements)   • Spending more time with or having increasedaccess to birth mother  • Spending more time with or having increasedaccess to birth father  • Spending more time with or having increasedaccess to siblings • Increasing their access to their birth family ingeneral (did not mention a specific person) • Other  • Having their own room • Having their room at home where they are livingbetter decorated • Moving to a different room within the currentresidential setting • Having a bigger bedroom • Having a specific home or personal possessionsand resource (i.e. TV, DVD, bike) • Having pets 3 - FOSTER FAMILY(19% of suggested improvements)   6 - PLACEMENT: SOCIAL FEATURES ORCLIMATE (29% of suggested improvements)   • Improving their relationship with their foster brother and sister  • Being the only child in the foster family • Having foster siblings • Spending more time and having a better relationshipwith foster parents • General (foster family or group home carers as awhole) • Having fewer and less strict rules imposed on them • Having more privacy • Having more free time • Being involved in more activities (i.e. get involvedin more sports, outside activities) • Having additional assistance, support or incentives • Having more friends • Having more placement stability • Having better food • Having more money • Spending more time with friends • Taking trips Table 1: Thematic Analysis of the Suggestions Made by Young People in CareConcerning Improvements to Their Current Placements What Improvements Did the Young PeopleSuggest?  As noted earlier, 16% of the young people said thatno improvements in their current living situation were needed or desired. Among those who did pro- vide an interpretable suggestion, six main themesemerged, which were similar to those made by young people in Year 2 of the OnLAC project (2002-2003)to the same open-ended question (Robitaille, Ghazal,& Flynn, 2005). The six themes were related, in or-der, to the self of the young person, the birth family,the foster family, changes in the type or location of the current placement, physical features and sur-roundings of the placement and, finally, social fea-tures and climate of the placement. Table 1 providesmore detailed information concerning the responsesspecific to the themes .  
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