Pandey A, Littlewood K, Cooper, L.,et.al. (2018, June). Mixed methods study to explore attitudes and beliefs about sleep for clinicians, administrators and policy makers in child welfare. SLEEP, Volume 41. Published Abstract at the Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, Baltimore, MD.
In the past few years, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Washington, D.C., have all increased their use of office space as an emergency option to place children when they have nowhere else to sleep. Few studies examine how the child welfare system understands healthy sleep and how that impacts their decision making. Qualitative analysis used structured interviews and document review to explore healthy sleep education needs within the system. Anovas were used to examine mean differences in maladaptive beliefs and attitudes about sleep using DBAS among child welfare professions. Results provide direction for improved practice related to sleep. Anovas show policy maker/attorneys have more maladaptive beliefs and attitudes, especially as it relates to consequences [F=(2, 47) =4.66, p<.001] and worry [F=(2, 47) =8.83, p<.001] related to sleep. Federal and state policy review shows there are no consistent state administrative policies specifically promoting healthy sleep, but several states have included safe sleep/co sleeping guidelines. Semi structured interviews and reviews of fatality records reveal a desire for education about healthy sleep practice for children, but also more information for child welfare workforce to prevent their own burnout and fatigue. This study highlights the need to provide healthy sleep education for those professionals who are making decisions about the placement of children who have been maltreated. Multilevel needs have been identified to educate child welfare workforce to prevent burnout and fatigue in a profession dealing with 90% turnover rates in certain jurisdictions. Additionally, those who have the most power in transforming policy also have the most maladaptive beliefs and attitudes about sleep. Future studies should explore how beliefs and attitudes about sleep influence important decisions about child placement and administrative policies atthe state and federal level.