The evolving relationship between casework skills, engagement, and positive case outcomes in child protection: A structural equation model

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Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 456-462
This paper reports a study that aims to increase the understanding of the relationship between workers and their child protection clients through the development of a client engagement model. A conceptual exploratory structural equation model (SEM) of caseworker skills, engagement and client outcomes is presented. Results indicate that including parents in the planning, not ignoring problems parent identify as important, not asking them to do something they would not find helpful, and locating appropriate services, leads to higher client engagement. Although not directly related, having workers return clients phone calls acted as mediator between other worker casework skills and client engagement. Client engagement was also influenced by satisfaction with the case outcome. Worker engagement was also influenced by whether they included parents in the planning, which in turn was influenced by worker experience. Workers who were kind and considerate were more likely to be engaged. Worker engagement predicted satisfaction with the case outcome and whether workers' believed families would contact the agency in the future. Lastly, client engagement predicted worker engagement although it is our belief that this is an iterative reciprocal process.
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Canadian CW research
Journal article