Parent mentoring relationships as a vehicle for reducing racial disparities: Experiences of child welfare-involved parents, mentors and professionals

Ruth Soffer-Elnekave, Wendy Haight, Bailey Jader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This qualitative study examines the Minnesota One-Stop for Communities Parent Mentor Program (MPMP). African American parents previously involved in the child welfare system conceptualized and spearheaded this program for parents currently involved in the system to reduce the involvement of families of color in child welfare, provide support and build protective factors. The MPMP exists alongside of, not as part of, state, county or tribal child welfare systems. This study included 15 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with parent mentors, parents and stakeholders, as well as participant observations and document reviews. Findings establish transferability of some of the positive findings of previous qualitative research on programs embedded within child welfare systems to the MPMP including the centrality of relationships to successful mentoring. It builds on existing research by providing insights into how to reduce racial disparities in the involvement of families of color in the child welfare system. Participants argued that by positioning their program outside of the formal child welfare system, they were better able to build trust and engage parents from African American and Indigenous communities, more flexibly address parent needs, and include parent mentors with a wide variety of life experiences. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104682
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume109
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Helping relationships
  • Indigenous social work
  • Parent mentors
  • Racial disparities

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