Exploring Child Abuse Prevention Methods in Palm Beach County's Haitian Community

Marie Evelyne LaFalaise, Walden University


Child maltreatment (CM) is an enduring problem that impacts the physical, emotional and behavioral attributes of an individual from infancy to adulthood. Parenting education (PE) is recognized as an effective tool to reduce CM for Hispanic, Mexican, Korean, and other immigrants' families. However, gaps in the literature exist about its efficacy with Haitian families. The purpose of this study is to bridge this gap by exploring the perceptions of Haitian parents on their views of PE as an intervention method for CM. The research questions focused on participants' perceptions of PE as a method to reduce CM. Schneider and Ingram's social construction framework of target populations and Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory of human development guided this study to explain how CM affects families, community, and societal interaction. A maximum variation purposeful sampling was used to select 19 participants from 3 generations of Haitian nationals living in Palm Beach County, Florida. An exploratory case study design was used to collect data via semistructured interviews, observations, and archival records. Data were coded using NVivo software and analyzed applying Saldana's approach for evolving themes. Findings revealed participants' unfamiliarity with PE and limited knowledge on the experiences of CM. Recommendations include development and application of culturally adaptive PE for Haitians and the promotion of its benefits through technology-based medium to improve participants' acceptance and retention. Implications for positive social change include instituting policies that address the cultural needs of Haitian families and outreach strategies in planning culturally adaptive parenting programs to reduce CM.