The purpose of this study was to understand what facilitates engagement between parents and child welfare workers. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered with 131 worker-parent dyads from 11 child welfare organizations in Ontario. Predictor variables included engagement, parental well-being (i.e., depression, stress), and worker well-being (i.e., burnout, job satisfaction, stress). Outcome variables included parental perception of child safety, changed parenting practices, and satisfaction with service.
Workers who were satisfied with service outcomes were significantly more engaged than workers who were unsatisfied. Parents who thought their children were safer as a result of child welfare intervention were significantly more engaged than parents who thought that their children were less safe.
The most compelling reason for positive change according to parents was being able to trust their worker and believing their worker was knowledgeable about parenting. Consistently, workers who felt that experience enabled them to better understand client’s problems and provide more effective support. Authors suggest that results indicate that engagement between clients and workers is related to self-reported outcomes and supports the perspective that promoting engagement is a key factor to a successful child welfare intervention.