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  • October 2017
  • Vol. 18, No. 7

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Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems

Children who have disabilities experience a higher risk of maltreatment and often need support from multiple specialized services, such as early intervention services that focus on the development of children experiencing delays or disabilities and child welfare services that address their safety.
The article "'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems" from a recent issue of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal highlights a study that utilized a mixed-methods design to examine to what extent early intervention and child welfare systems collaborate to support young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment.

The study methods included using semistructured interviews to examine the systems level and an online survey to examine the program level. Participants in the systems-level interviews included a past president of a national early intervention professional organization, the vice president of a national child welfare professional organization, and state personnel working with the early intervention and child welfare systems. The interview questions were tailored to each participant and addressed research, policy, practice, preparation, and collaboration.

Participation in the program-level online surveys was limited to early intervention providers and service coordinators serving a large Midwestern urban area. The online survey used for these participants was based on the Professional Interventionist Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act Survey, which was developed to assess three major concerns of early intervention providers working with children and parents involved with the child welfare system, including staff resources, optimally serving children referred from the child welfare system, and parent involvement.

The findings garnered from the interviews and the online survey indicate that participants from both the early intervention and child welfare systems agree that research efforts in their respective systems have not focused on young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment to the extent that they are receiving optimal support. In addition, there was a consensus that future cross-systems efforts should focus on identifying shared priorities, meaningful partnerships, clearly defined roles, and mutual resources.

"'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems," by Catherine Corr and Rosa Milagros Santos (Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34), is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-016-0470-4.
 

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