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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploration of child welfare through action research
by Mudd-Fegett, Kimberly N., D.S.W., Capella University, 2016, 102; 10144741
Abstract (Summary)

Frontline child welfare workers are routinely called to assist victims of child abuse, domestic violence, and violent crimes. The images these workers face are increasingly leading to psychological effects from traumatic events that extend beyond those directly impacted. Frontline child welfare workers are at an increased risk of facing secondary trauma as they are tasked with experiencing violence vicariously on a daily basis while expected to transform to the onerous administrative requirements of their positions. In an effort to develop deeper understanding of long-term exposure to the impact of secondary trauma, action research was conducted with 75 frontline child welfare workers currently and previously employed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This mixed-method action research was conducted through an online questionnaire and face to face focus groups in which frontline workers participated in a partnership to seek positive change to improve the experiences and effectiveness of frontline child welfare workers. The goal of this research was to develop change through action research via a participatory, democratic research approach that encompassed the pursuit of practical knowledge. This research found that 66.70% of frontline child welfare workers in the region of study met the clinical diagnosis for posttraumatic stress disorder and these workers felt ill-equipped to address the traumas they faced. In partnership with frontline workers, data gathered through focus group discussions was used to develop online training to bring awareness, knowledge and focus to the imperative need to arm and safeguard child welfare workers against the devastating situations they face. It is clear through this study that frontline workers are often overlooked in the process of change and are left holding the negative consequences of the work they conduct with little appreciation for the sacrifices they make.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Palloff, Rena
Commitee: Savage, Jennifer, Tirrito, Teresa
School: Capella University
Department: Public Service Leadership
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work
Keywords: Child welfare, Frontline child welfare workers, Secondary trauma
Publication Number: 10144741
ISBN: 978-1-339-99861-9
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