Skip to main content



Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

Instructions: Postings are listed for browsing with the newest messages first. Click on the linked ID number to see a message. You can search the author, subject, message ID, and message content fields by entering your criteria into this search box:

Message ID: 9422
Date: 2013-04-30

Author:Claudette Grinnell-Davis

Subject:Re: parenting measures

I agree with Dr. Azar that we desperately need a concerted effort to develop a battery of parenting measures that can help sort and sift all of the information necessary to make a good decision - which in turn would alleviate the pressure on overworked CPS workers who are also dramatically affected by the high-stress decisions they have to make. But unfortunately from a policy evaluation standpoint, this isn't a high priority - and thus funding for such a venture probably isn't either. Funding for measurement development usually isn't a priority anyway. While the Adoption and Safe Families Act prioritizes the biological family of origin in child maltreatment placement and decision-making, simultaneously there is little to no mention of parents or parent-based outcomes in Child and Family Service Reviews, which is the primary driving force behind state agency operations and outcomes - and thus behind contractual arrangements with private agencies. As someone who worked in child protection and who is trained as both a social worker and a developmental psychologist, developing such a battery would require bringing together developmental psychology researchers, social work researchers, practitioners from both disciplines and policy/organization analysts. This kind of multidisciplinary approach is not readily extant in the literature at the moment, outside of perhaps the LONGSCAN Consortium, and their focus is etiology, not measurement development. I'd love to see that changed - and plan on working hard in my career to do so. On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM, Rhenda Hodnett > wrote: As the Child Welfare Director in Louisiana, this is an area I have been focused on for many years. I concur with Sandra Azar's comments, particularly about the real need for more guidance for those working in the child protection system. In my opinion, it is critical to differentiate between a parent's knowledge of parenting issues (ie., do I know what the signs are that my child is ready for potty training), skill (do I have the skills to carry out a plan to potty train?), attitude (do I think my child has "accidents" just to make me angry?), and evidence of willingness to act accordingly (do I really stick to using positive reinforcement, or do I resort to spanking for "accidents"?). In addition, there needs to be some consideration given to the extent to which the caregiver's environment is conducive to protective parenting. For a parent who is overwhelmed with the stress of unemployment, eviction, medical problems, etc., having the requisite knowledge, skill, attitude and intention might not be enough. If there is interest in developing a collaborative effort across a number of cps agencies, count me in! Rhenda Hodnett, Ph.D., LCSW Child Welfare Administrator Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services ________________________________ From: bounce-86588656-9405537@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-86588656-9405537@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Sandra Azar Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:22 AM To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers' Subject: RE: parenting measures I agree with all that has been said … but we need to roll up our sleeves and come up with a valid battery that would provide some dimensions of parenting that link to the specific types of questions that appear in the child protection system. There ought to be funding to work on developing such a battery. There are some good candidates for elements such as home hygiene assessment instruments, supervision attitudes, home safety knowledge and skills, observational protocols, etc. and we know some major risk elements - -substance abuse and mental health problems. There are also cognitive processing problems that interfere with the smooth operation of home life and parenting and transactions that support parenting (with other adults). These would need to be normed with the samples matching the demographics of CPS cases and should not only differentiate those who have substantiated cases but also the course of their involvement with CPS (recidivism). It would not be a simple one measure assessment and there lies the difficulty – the cost of completing such capacity assessments. Short of funding measurement research -- it might take a collaborative effort across a number of cps agencies across the country to try to implement measures and examine their predictive validity. Sandra Azar Professor Psychology Dept. Pennsylvania State University From: bounce-86588537-6833833@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-86588537-6833833@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Carl Hanson Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 6:09 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: parenting measures This issue, I believe, lies at the heart of child welfare. We have guidelines for what constitutes insufficient parenting, namely how each jurisdiction defines its criteria for investigating CAN reports and for opening cases. We do not, as far as I am aware, have positive guidelines. I have seen a few attempts at defining minimum criteria for sufficient parenting, but have not seen any assessment tool that will determine whether in any particular case the parent(s) are/can/will provide sufficient parenting. --- On Mon, 4/29/13, Bruce Borkosky > wrote: The problem, Glenn, is that there are so many aspects / variables that incorporate 'good parenting' as well as 'bad parenting' and even 'barely adequate parenting'. You might as well ask for a measure of 'living', it's so broad. Then there's the problem of definition (good, bad, adequate, etc), the base rate problem and the severity of infractions. Such a judgment can barely be done by a full assessment, and, many times, not even then BB On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM, Glenn Higgins > wrote: Can someone suggest a well established measure of parenting? We would like to use one prior to reunification to assess the ability of the biological parent to take care of the children. Would the PSI (parenting stress index) be appropriate for out of home cases? GH -- Claudette L. Grinnell-Davis, MTS, MSW, PhD Candidate Joint Program in Social Work and Social Science (Psychology) University of Michigan 1080 S. University Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48109 clynngd@umich.edu 616.893.6845 (cell)

I agree with Dr. Azar that we desperately need a concerted effort to develop a battery of parenting measures that can help sort and sift all of the information necessary to make a good decision - which in turn would alleviate the pressure on overworked CPS workers who are also dramatically affected by the high-stress decisions they have to make. But unfortunately from a policy evaluation standpoint, this isn't a high priority - and thus funding for such a venture probably isn't either. Funding for measurement development usually isn't a priority anyway. While the Adoption and Safe Families Act prioritizes the biological family of origin in child maltreatment placement and decision-making, simultaneously there is little to no mention of parents or parent-based outcomes in Child and Family Service Reviews, which is the primary driving force behind state agency operations and outcomes - and thus behind contractual arrangements with private agencies. As someone who worked in child protection and who is trained as both a social worker and a developmental psychologist, developing such a battery would require bringing together developmental psychology researchers, social work researchers, practitioners from both disciplines and policy/organization analysts. This kind of multidisciplinary approach is not readily extant in the literature at the moment, outside of perhaps the LONGSCAN Consortium, and their focus is etiology, not measurement development. I'd love to see that changed - and plan on working hard in my career to do so. On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM, Rhenda Hodnett > wrote: As the Child Welfare Director in Louisiana, this is an area I have been focused on for many years. I concur with Sandra Azar's comments, particularly about the real need for more guidance for those working in the child protection system. In my opinion, it is critical to differentiate between a parent's knowledge of parenting issues (ie., do I know what the signs are that my child is ready for potty training), skill (do I have the skills to carry out a plan to potty train?), attitude (do I think my child has "accidents" just to make me angry?), and evidence of willingness to act accordingly (do I really stick to using positive reinforcement, or do I resort to spanking for "accidents"?). In addition, there needs to be some consideration given to the extent to which the caregiver's environment is conducive to protective parenting. For a parent who is overwhelmed with the stress of unemployment, eviction, medical problems, etc., having the requisite knowledge, skill, attitude and intention might not be enough. If there is interest in developing a collaborative effort across a number of cps agencies, count me in! Rhenda Hodnett, Ph.D., LCSW Child Welfare Administrator Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services ________________________________ From: bounce-86588656-9405537list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-86588656-9405537list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Sandra Azar Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:22 AM To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers' Subject: RE: parenting measures I agree with all that has been said … but we need to roll up our sleeves and come up with a valid battery that would provide some dimensions of parenting that link to the specific types of questions that appear in the child protection system. There ought to be funding to work on developing such a battery. There are some good candidates for elements such as home hygiene assessment instruments, supervision attitudes, home safety knowledge and skills, observational protocols, etc. and we know some major risk elements - -substance abuse and mental health problems. There are also cognitive processing problems that interfere with the smooth operation of home life and parenting and transactions that support parenting (with other adults). These would need to be normed with the samples matching the demographics of CPS cases and should not only differentiate those who have substantiated cases but also the course of their involvement with CPS (recidivism). It would not be a simple one measure assessment and there lies the difficulty – the cost of completing such capacity assessments. Short of funding measurement research -- it might take a collaborative effort across a number of cps agencies across the country to try to implement measures and examine their predictive validity. Sandra Azar Professor Psychology Dept. Pennsylvania State University From: bounce-86588537-6833833list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-86588537-6833833list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Carl Hanson Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 6:09 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: parenting measures This issue, I believe, lies at the heart of child welfare. We have guidelines for what constitutes insufficient parenting, namely how each jurisdiction defines its criteria for investigating CAN reports and for opening cases. We do not, as far as I am aware, have positive guidelines. I have seen a few attempts at defining minimum criteria for sufficient parenting, but have not seen any assessment tool that will determine whether in any particular case the parent(s) are/can/will provide sufficient parenting. --- On Mon, 4/29/13, Bruce Borkosky > wrote: The problem, Glenn, is that there are so many aspects / variables that incorporate 'good parenting' as well as 'bad parenting' and even 'barely adequate parenting'. You might as well ask for a measure of 'living', it's so broad. Then there's the problem of definition (good, bad, adequate, etc), the base rate problem and the severity of infractions. Such a judgment can barely be done by a full assessment, and, many times, not even then BB On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM, Glenn Higgins > wrote: Can someone suggest a well established measure of parenting? We would like to use one prior to reunification to assess the ability of the biological parent to take care of the children. Would the PSI (parenting stress index) be appropriate for out of home cases? GH -- Claudette L. Grinnell-Davis, MTS, MSW, PhD Candidate Joint Program in Social Work and Social Science (Psychology) University of Michigan 1080 S. University Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48109 clynngdumich.edu 616.893.6845 (cell)