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California State University, Long Beach
Child Welfare Training Centre

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Following are abstracts from journal articles published by the Child Welfare Training Centre.

Consumer Perceptions of Service Delivery Strategies for Family Resource Centers

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are designed to be open, available, and accessible to neighborhood residents and consumers. These centers should also actively involve residents in partnerships to design and implement programs. However, little attention has been paid to the methods of FRC service delivery and whether these methods increase the ability of FRCs to achieve their goals. This study explored 488 current, past and potential consumers' perceptions of the importance of FRC service delivery factors. Geographic and ethnic differences were examined. Overall, consumers expressed satisfaction with service delivery factors with the "interpesonal ambience" of the FRC rated higher than "tangible supports." Evidence suggests that service delivery factors play an important role in utilization of FRCs. Areas for improvement include resident participation in decision-making, publicity, and the provision of multiple activities. Implications for community-based practice and administration are discussed.

O'Donnell, J., & Giovannoni, J.M. (2006). Families in Society.


Promoting Youth Development and Community Involvement with Technology: The Long Beach CORAL Youth Institute

The Long Beach YMCA CORAL Youth Institute is an innovative program that uses technology as a mechnism for promoting positive youth development and technology skill while enhancing school and life success amoung low-income, culturally-diverse, urban high school students. This article describes the Youth Institute and explores program outcomes on participants from the 2003 Intensive Summer Program (N=37). Results from the quantitative and qualitative research indicated significant positive changes in both technology and leadership skills as well as increased positive youth development and community involvement for participants involved in the program.

O'Donnell, J., & Regan, J.R. (2006). Journal of Technology fo the Human Services.


Best Practices for Integrating Technology and Service Learning in a Youth Development Program

The Long Beach YMCA Youth Institute is an innovative oragram that uses technology and service learning as a mechanism for promoting positive youth development while enhancing the academic and career readiness of low-income, culturally-diverse, urban high school students. This article describes the Youth Institute and identifies best practice for the use of technology and service learning in youth development programs. The best practice principles, based on focus group data with 170 youth, are reaching underserved and culturally-diverse youth, utilizing project-based learning for teaching technology, preparing for the workplace or higher education, involving youth in service learning, and encouraging personal growth and development.

Regan, J.R., & O'Donnell, J. (2006). The Journal for Evidence-Based Social Work


Title IV-E Programs: Preparing MSW Students for Public Child Welfare Practice

This article investigates the percieved quality and skill outcomes of Title IV-E MSW training programs at four universities from the eprspective of their graduates. It also sought to identify necessary program supports, expectations of graduates as they began child welfare employment, and pre-employment factors related to retention. The vast majority of MSWs agreed that their education was high quality and prepared them well for child welfare practice. The skills rated highest were establishing client rapports, case management, the development of a professional identity, and time management and assessment skills. The most consistent pre-employment predictors of whether they stayed past their stipend commitment period were their commitment to the PCW agency and their commitment to child welfare practice. Implications for program design are discussed.

O'Donnell, J., & Kirkner, S. L. (in press). The Journal of Teaching in Social Work


Low-income Consumers' Perceptions of Community School Recruitment Practices, Desired Services and Outcomes

Community schools require the active involvement of family and community members in the education and schooling of children both in the home and on the school site. However, schools often have difficulty effectively brininging low-income, diverse parents onto school campuses even when they are involved on their children's education in the home. This study explores outreach methods, desired services and benefits of participation from the perspective of 113 low-income, urban, predominantly Latino, community school consumers. A multi-pronged community outreach approach which emphasizes personal relationships is likely to be most effective. Consumers participated in diverse programs, but their first priorities were programs that would benefit thier children's learning and their home environment. Consumers reported positive changes in their children, themselves, their collaboration with the school, and, to some extent, in thier community as a result of their involvement. The findings suggest that the successful engagement of urban parents and community residents on school campuses requires diverse outreach strategies. A wide variety of learning opportunities should prove beneficial to children, families and schools. Implications for practice are discussed.

O'Donnell, J., Kirkner, S.L. & Meyer-Adams, N. (in press). The School Community Journal


A Lognitudinal Study of Factors Influencing the Retention of Title IV-E MSWs in Public Child Welfare

This article investigates factors predicting the retention of 201 Title IV-E MSW graduates at a public child welfare agency over two years of employment. Using a discriminant function analysis, factors taken at the end of the first and second year of employment were used to predict whether these graduates left prior to or at the end of their commitment or stayed past their commitment. The most consistent predictor of whether MSWs stayed past their stipend commitment was organizational commitment. Other significant predictors varied by year and included burnout, working conditions, supervisor support, job satisfaction, role conflict and autonomy. Qualitative findings about the reasons why these graduates decided to remain or leave the agency are also presented.

O'Donnell, J., & Kirkner, S. L. (in press). Journal of Public Child Welfare


A Model for Examining Personal Biases

This article presents a model to facilitate public child welfare workers looking at their personal beliefs, or what the author calls "templates". Operating from templates, workers may be unaware that these filters exist and influence what they believe is objective information gathering and decision-making. The Templates model provides an easy way for workers to talk about their beliefs and assumptions in a non-judgemental way and allows supervisors to address the connection between templates and disproportionality of children in out-of-home care.

Walker, P.J. (2000, Winter/Spring). Permanency Planning Today


Collaboration Between Youth and Adults in a Support Group for Gay and Lesbian Youth

An innovative approach to serving gay and lesbian youth which incorporates the ideas of the youth themselves and the active participation of gay and lesbian adult volunteers.

O'Donnell, J., Ferreira, J. & Malin, M. (1997), Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services


Inner-City Youths Helping Children: After-School Programs to Promote Bonding and Reduce Risk

Children in poverty growing up in low-income neighborhoods are at increased risk of problem behaviors, including delinquency, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and school dropout. the social development middle suggests that promoting children's and youth's levels of bonding to prosocial units by providing opportunities, skills and rewards can be an effective prevention strategy. This article describes an after-school program which 54 youth mentors worked with 584 elementary and middle school children in small groups over two years. Perceptions of these mentors suggest that both the children and the mentors benefited from their participation. The authors share experiences and suggest guidelines for developing similar programs.

O'Donnell, J., Michalak, E., & Ames, E. (1997), Social Work in Education


Preventing School Failure, Drug Use, and Delinquency Among Low-Income Children: Long-Term Intervention in Elementary Schools

A six-year, school-based prevention program, which modified classroom teacher practices, offered parent training, and provided child social skills training, was evaluated for its effect on school failure, drug abuse, and delinquency among low-income urban children. compared to a low-income control group, children in the intervention group showed enhanced school commitment and class participation. The girls in the group also evidenced lower rates of substance use initiation, while boys exhibited increased social and school work skills.

O'Donnell, J., Hawkins, J.D., Abbott, R.D. & Day, L.E. (1995), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry


Predicting Serious Delinquency and Substance Use Among Aggressive Boys

Early aggressive behavior puts boys at increased risk for involvement in a variety of later problem behaviors, including delinquency and drug abuse. However, not all boys who evidence aggressive behavior in childhood continue to engage in problem behaviors in adolescence. this 3.5 year prospective study examined the role of factors hypothesized by the social development model to inhibit or increase the likelihood of subsequent involvement in serious delinquency and substance use within a sample of boys identified as aggressive by the teacher report at ages 10 and 11. at ages 12 and 13, a combination of the constructs of the skills for prosocial involvement, school bonding and achievement, family bonding and management practices, norms against substance use, and interaction with peers and adults involved in antisocial behavior significantly discriminated between boys who were and were not involved in serious delinquent behavior and substance use at ages 13 and 14, although family bonding and management practices appeared to contribute little to the discriminant function. Implications of the results for preventive interventions with aggressive boys are discussed.

O'Donnell, J., Hawkins, J.D. & Abbott, R.D. (1995), Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(4), 529-537


Partners for Change: Community Residents and Agencies

Efforts to combine the knowledge and skills of community residents and diverse professionals to bring about community and service delivery change are becoming increasingly popular, yet difficult to achieve. This article details, from the perspective of community residents and agency and university staff, the challenges, the strategies, and benefits in developing one community-agency collaborative which has successfully engaged community residents. The program is located in a low-income, culturally-diverse, densely populated urban area. Challenges faced by the partnership included recruiting residents, reducing logistical barriers to resident involvements, joining together residents and agency staff, and aligning community and agency goals. Successful strategies in overcoming these challenges included responding quickly to community concerns, developing more personal recruiting strategies, changing logistics to enhance resident participation, increasing program visibility in the community, creating shared goals and vision, and training. Observed benefits include community residents believe their participation has resulted in personal, agency and neighborhood improvements and increased cross-cultural understanding.

O'Donnell, J., Ferreira, J., Hurtado, R., Ames, E., Floyd, R.E. & Sebren, L.M. (In Press), The Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.


Ethnic Differences in Service Use, Preferences, and Service Delivery Aspects Among Consumers and Potential Consumers of Family Resource Centers

Little is known about consumers' perceptions regarding what services should be offered at Family Resource Centers (FRC) and how these services should be provided. This study reports on ethnic similarities and differences in service utilization, service preferences, and service delivery concerns among 488 Latinos, European Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans who were consumers or potential consumers of FRCs in nine localities in California.

O'Donnell, J., Giovannoni, J. (1999), Journal of Muliticultural Social Work


Consumer Perceptions of Outreach and Marketing Strategies for Family Resources Centers

Family Resources Centers (FRC) are designed to recruit, provide services to, and involve low-income residents in leadership roles. These centers should be accessibile to all families in a community. However, it is often difficult to recruit residents who might be socially isolated or alienated from institutions to participate in services and program leadership. This study explored current, past, and potential consumer's perceptions of the methods of community outreach and reasons people might or might not join an FRC.

O'Donnell, J., Giovannoni, J. (2000), Journal of Community Practice