The Minimum Wage Increase: Will This Social Innovation Backfire? | Social Work
Loc H. Nguyen
At least 30 states have or are considering raising the minimum wage to as much as $15 per hour. Research has shown that this increase positively affects health, but the increase may negatively affect those receiving federal benefits tied to130 percent to 185 percent of the FPL in most states. The social work field should be primed to lead the effort in studying both the positive and negative impacts of this very important social innovation, lest this innovation backfires on our most vulnerable populations.
A Public Health Response to Data Interoperability to Prevent Child Maltreatment | American Journal of Public Health
Loc H. Nguyen
The sharing of data, particularly health data, has been an important tool for the public health community, especially in terms of data sharing across systems (i.e., interoperability). Child maltreatment is a serious public health issue that could be better mitigated if there were interoperability.
There are challenges to addressing child maltreatment interoperability that include the current lack of data sharing among systems, the lack of laws that promote interoperability to address child maltreatment, and the lack of data sharing at the individual level. There are waivers in federal law that allow for interoperability to prevent communicable diseases at the individual level.
Child maltreatment has a greater long-term impact than a number of communicable diseases combined, and interoperability should be leveraged to maximize public health strategies to prevent child maltreatment.
A Different Perspective on Managing Child Welfare in Turbulent Times | Social Work
Loc H. Nguyen
In their recent article, Gustavsson and MacEachron (2013) argued that recessions have caused significant financial burden for public child welfare agencies, leading to adverse outcomes for children and families. The most provocative suggestion by Gustavsson and MacEachron to address the financial burden is to revisit the ideas proposed more than 20 years ago by Leroy Pelton to restructure the Child Protective Services (CPS) system by having “the investigative role of child welfare be assumed by law enforcement, freeing child welfare to offer preventive and supportive services to enhance family well-being on a voluntary basis” (Pelton, 1991, p. 88).
This particular suggestion by Gustavsson and MacEachron (2013) may perhaps be too provocative, as it seems to be a broader statement of what Pelton (1991) had focused on in his original article. Pelton believed that a restructuring of the child welfare system was needed based on the research and statistics of the 1980s that suggested an overreliance on out-of-home placements and not enough funding for preventative services. For example, he noted that there were 360,000 children in care in 1989, with an alarming one quarter of the children reentering foster care within one year of exiting foster care. In 1990, there were 63.6 million children in America (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). Thus, the proportion of children in out-of-home care was about 0.57 percent.
The relationship between unemployment and child maltreatment: A county-level perspective in California | Children and Youth Services Review
The conventional logic supported by research and statistics suggests that there will be more child maltreatment as the economy becomes worse and less child maltreatment as the economy becomes better. However, in some local jurisdictions in California, statistics indicate the opposite. A closer examination of one county, San Mateo, suggests that this may be due to the fact that the County has a very high Self-Sufficiency Standard in which people get jobs with incomes that do not exceed the Standard, but in fact disqualifies them from the safety net of Federal benefits. Further, children born around the time of the last recession have a higher chance of adverse mental health issues and are now entering schools with issues that may reflect child abuse and neglect.
Using Return on Investment to Evaluate Child Welfare Training Programs | Social Work
Loc H. Nguyen
The impact of child abuse and neglect has affected many aspects of society beyond just those in child welfare. In 2010, there were 408,425 children in foster care in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011), and at least that many children who were living in the homes of their parents but under the jurisdiction of a Child Protective Services (CPS) agency. Researchers have also conservatively estimated that there are over 52,000 CPS workers in the nation providing services to these children (Barth, Lloyd, Christ, Chapman, & Dickinson, 2008). Based on estimates by Wang & Holton (2007), the annual economic impact of child abuse and neglect amortized for inflation is over $111 billion, of which less than 25 percent is directly related to child welfare expenditures. The other expenditures relate to the impact on the health, judicial, and education systems and to the loss to society in terms of productivity.
Child Welfare Informatics: A New Definition for an Established Practice | Social Work
Loc H. Nguyen
Child welfare, one of the most important arenas of social work, has benefited from advances in information technology in the past two decades.