Learning how to dance with the public child welfare system: Mexican parents' efforts to exercise their voice

Cecilia Ayón, Eugene Aisenberg, Pauline Erera

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Scopus citations


    The purpose of this article is to understand how Mexican parents' perceive their voices (their concerns, dissatisfaction, and opinions) as integrated in child welfare cases and what factors hinder or promote this process. The focus is on parents' interactions with their child welfare worker during routine monthly home visits. Nineteen parents, with a history of immigration, participated in in-depth interviews for this qualitative study. Grounded theory methods were used to complete the content analysis. The findings indicate that there are three principal factors that affect parents' decisions to exercise their voice: 1) parent's perceptions of how workers received their voice; 2) case context, including immigration status and fear of loosing children; and 3) the lack of parental knowledge and understanding of the child welfare case process and support/advocacy agents. Recommendations include utilizing empowerment models and culturally grounded practices that facilitate the integration of parents' voices in the parent- worker interactions and case process, and continued support for peer support interventions and formal forms of advocacy.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)263-286
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Public Child Welfare
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2010


    • Child welfare
    • Mexican/Latino families
    • Parent engagement

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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