The Standardized Parent Walk-through: A Novel Method to Study Process and Content of Family Peer-to-Peer Services
IDEAS Center researchers have developed a novel method to assess the content of services provided by family peer advocates (FPA). FPA's are typically parents of children with special needs themselves, and serve as peers to model, coach, and support parents in their journey to understand, cope with, advocate, and negotiate various service systems. NYS currently spends $14 million per year on such services, which vary greatly across the state. Assessing the quality of FPA-provided services in New York State (as well as nationally) is key to further incorporating FPA into the provision of mainstream mental healthcare services.
Researchers developed and tested a standardized 'walk-through' procedure to assess the type and quality of family peer advisor services. This procedure combined the strengths of a walk-through, standardized patient, and ethnographic observation. Results indicated the feasibility of using a walk-through methodology for collecting process and content data about family support services. The study also yielded rich information about the process and content of FPA service provision, important information for developing quality indicators. The study provided information on specific areas of improvement to FPA services, including: confidentiality issues, appointment interruptions, incomplete assessment of parent concerns, and the volume of information provided to the parent. Qualitative data also provided richer and contextualized information, including the important strengths of FPA-provided services (e.g. emotional support from a peer with shared experiences; linkages to local community resources; information about parent rights; and connections to other caregivers and youth).
Click below for a copy of the article on conducting a walkthrough.
Wisdom JL, Olin S, Shorter P, Burton G, Hoagwood KE. (2011). Family Peer Advocates: A Pilot Study of the Content and Process of Service Provision. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20 (6), pg. 833-843.
How States and Organizations can use this Tool
Researchers developed procedures for organizations to conduct a standardized parent walk-through. Click here for this procedure.
This novel walk-through method can be used by state and local organizations to:
(1) obtain rich information about the nature of family support services in their state in order to;
(2) establish standards of care and guide training; and
(3) improve the integration of this emerging workforce into mental healthcare service settings in your state.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (RO1 MH085969) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K23 DA020487).