Rural communities are often characterized by dispersed populations, long distances between services and fewer choices of available programs. The following resources offer information for professionals to develop and sustain programs for rural families, tools to train a rural workforce, and the use of technology for program variety and accessibility. Resources include State and local examples.
Better Together: Expanding Rural Partnerships to Support Families
Shaklee, Bigbee, & Wall
Journal of Family Social Work, 15(5), 2012
Explores how the chronic shortages of health, social service, and mental health professionals in rural areas necessitate creative partnerships in support of families. This report explores multidisciplinary prevention programs to offer particularly good contexts for county extension educators and community health nurses to work in collaboration with social workers.
Home-Based Intervention for High-Risk Rural Families: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Silovsky, J., Bard, D., Chaffin, M., Hecht, D., Burris, L., Owora, A. et al.
Children and Youth Services Review, 33(8), 2012
Investigates the effectiveness of using a home-based child maltreatment prevention program to alter parenting behaviors related to child maltreatment in rural caregivers. SafeCare (SC+) was adapted for high-risk rural communities and enhanced with Motivational Interviewing and compared to a standard home-based mental health service.
Information Packet: Rural Issues in Child Welfare (PDF - 140 KB)
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (2009)
Presents challenges, statistics, best practices, and model programs for providing child welfare services to rural communities and provides links to resources that address child welfare services for rural areas.
Mental Health Problems Have Considerable Impact on Rural Children and Their Families (PDF - 224 KB)
Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center
Research and Policy Brief, 2010
Reviews findings from the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs to examine the prevalence, access to services, problem severity, and family impact of children's mental health in rural and urban areas. The brief includes recommendations for improving mental health services for rural families.
A New Approach to Early Intervention: Virtual Home Visits (PDF - 1,853 KB)
Family Center on Technology and Disability (2010)
Explores the challenges of providing home visiting services to rural families with infants and toddlers with disabilities, and the potential of virtual home visits for reaching these families.
Prevention of Child Maltreatment in High-Risk Rural Families: A Randomized Clinical Trial with Child Welfare Outcomes
Silovsky, Bard, Chaffin, Hecht, Burris, Owora, et al.
Children and Youth Services Review, 33(8), 2011
Reviews a few studies that have examined prevention of child maltreatment among higher-risk populations in rural communities. The overarching goal of these studies was to conduct a randomized clinical trial of SafeCare augmented for a rural high-risk population compared to standard home-based mental health services to examine reductions in future child maltreatment reports, as well as risk factors and factors proximal to child maltreatment.
Rural Success Project
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Social Work
Identifies and shares the strategies rural communities are using to protect children and help strengthen families. Resources include success stories from communities as well as media outreach guides.
Rural Women's Transitions to Motherhood: Understanding Social Support in a Rural Community.
Gjesfjeld, Weaver, & Schommer
Journal of Family Social Work, 15(5), 2012
Explores how social support protects women from various negative consequences using interviews of 24 women in a North Dakota community to seek to better understand how rural women were supported as new mothers.
Understanding Child Abuse in Rural and Urban America: Risk Factors and Maltreatment Substantiation (PDF - 607 KB)
Walsh & Mattingly (2012)
University of New Hampshire & Carsey Institute
Compares the outcomes of child maltreatment cases in rural versus urban places and identifies the characteristics associated with substantiation indicating key findings.
Barriers to Receiving Substance Abuse Treatment Among Rural Pregnant Women in Kentucky
Jackson & Shannon
Maternal and Child Health Journal, 16(9), 2012
Explores the barriers for rural pregnant women seeking substance abuse treatment and analyzes a study that can help in improving treatment access and services.
Child Welfare Practice in Rural North Carolina
North Carolina Division of Social Services, North Carolina Family and Children's Resource Program
Children's Services Practice Notes, 12(3), 2007
Focuses on child welfare practice in rural areas of the State, such as the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Rural Success Project. The issue discusses barriers and benefits to practicing child welfare in rural areas and identifies components that make collaboration work.
Considerations for Child Welfare Research in Rural Communities: Community-Based Participatory Research [PowerPoint] (PDF - 1,320 KB)
Presents slides focused on key challenges in conducting research in child welfare for rural communities and presents the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) model. Information is provided on characteristics of rural communities, the lack of information about child welfare practices in rural communities, the strengths of rural communities, and key questions that should be considered for rural child welfare research.
Missouri Training Program for Rural Child Welfare Workers
Missouri State University School of Social Work
Offers 12 training modules to educate frontline child welfare workers and supervisors to better meet the needs of southwest Missouri's rural population.