B-11 - Differential Response as a Culturally Responsive Practice   Intermediate

  Research   Diversity

Differential response (DR) is a growing approach in child welfare that allows for multiple, more flexible responses to families that pose low risk of safety to children. Core components of DR include: engaging families and extended families in decision-making; addressing families’ basic needs; shifting to early intervention; and collaborating with community-based organizations (QIC-DR, 2011). Several states have implemented DR as part of an overall strategy to address racial disparities in child welfare. The presenter will highlight a recent study that explored which aspects of DR implementation may be more culturally responsive and might help account for differences in racial equity outcomes across jurisdictions. This study compared the implementation of DR across nine counties in Minnesota, to examine the impact of this approach on over-represented groups in this state, including African American, American Indian, Multi-racial and Latino children. Results indicated that using DR as a culturally responsive practice included a focus on identifying “enduring supports” for parents, helping families meet basic needs, and counties hiring more culturally and racially diverse staff. Workers in counties that effectively used DR described a shift in values, from viewing the family as “non-compliant or “resistant,” to viewing family engagement as the worker’s responsibility. DR practices that better engage families in problem-solving and sharing responsibility for keeping children safe include: asking families what support they see as important; building on family strengths; and focusing less on “what did happen” and more on “how can we make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Counties with more positive outcomes also included these components in their implementation: more comprehensive assessment protocols; extensive initial and ongoing training and coaching in DR; and the use of group case consultation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants in this workshop will understand how the core components of differential response link to strategies used to address racial disparities in child welfare.
2. Participants will gain knowledge about which aspects of differential response can be used in a culturally response approach to working with families in child welfare systems.
3. Participants will explore strategies for the effective and culturally responsive implementation of differential response.