Using a Virtual, Culturally Based Parenting Program to Reduce American Indian/Alaska Native Child Welfare Inequality

Does a culturally-based parenting program that provides training in how to parent children from birth to age 13 help reduce child welfare inequalities for American Indian/Alaska Native communities?

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children face disproportionality in foster care and other specific types of child welfare placements, which has been linked to deleterious long-term educational, economic, and social outcomes. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe partnered with Child Trends to conduct a pilot study to evaluate in-home delivery of Positive Indian Parenting (PIP), a culturally-based parenting skills curriculum developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), as well as to assess the feasibility of a waitlist randomized control trial, providing a foundation for a national RCT of PIP. The pilot involves collecting data using standardized measures on cultural connectedness, parent-child bonding, parental self-efficacy, parent stress, child neglect, and parental depression. However, social distancing requirements have led the Cowlitz Tribe to develop a virtual delivery platform. The current study introduces two elements to the existing pilot study: 1) an examination of virtual delivery of PIP and 2) a feasibility analysis of accessing tribal child welfare data. The study also aims to better understand how the virtual approach might reduce inequality by increasing PIP’s uptake and retention. For the study of virtual delivery of PIP, two focus group interviews will be conducted with a total of 16 families that received both the virtual training and the in-person curriculum. In addition, in-depth qualitative interviews will be conducted with PIP trainers working at Cowlitz at various points to examine their experiences conducting virtual versus in-person PIP. Finally, the team will conduct a survey of tribes that have participated in NICWA’s PIP train-the-trainer workshops over the last 10 years to assess their experiences with virtual and in-person delivery of PIP. The second element of the study explores the feasibility of obtaining access to eight administrative data reports including programs and/or support services received, reports related to maltreatment, and reports related to placement.

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