The University of Arizona

UA Sociologist Will Research Children's Services

By Lori Harwood, May 19, 2003

What did your kids do last weekend? Where were they? What did they get out of it? Professor Joe Galaskiewicz of the University of Arizona sociology department will be asking parents/guardians these questions in Phoenix this fall. Galaskiewicz received a grant of more than $150,000 from the National Science Foundation to study "The Markets for Children's Services."

In collaboration with the Survey Research Laboratory at Arizona State University, Galaskiewicz hopes to describe how congregations, government agencies, schools, nonprofits and business establishments serve different types of children in different ways. The research will help explain the roles of these various types of organizations in the urban community today and the competition among them.

Galaskiewicz will survey 600 randomly selected households in the Phoenix metro area. He will ask parents what their kids ages 5 through 12 did the previous weekend and with what service provider. He will also ask how satisfied they are with the services they received. Then Galaskiewicz will survey a sample of the providers indicated on the survey. He will gather such information as how the providers measure performance, how they staff services, how they evaluate their staff, whether they are licensed; whether they are profit or not-for-profit, etc. Galaskiewicz will then look at how these measures are correlated with the parent?s satisfaction level.

"In a nutshell, I am looking at what types of families are served by what types of providers and how happy they are with what they are getting," Galaskiewicz said. "This addresses important sociological questions related to equal opportunity and raises important public policy questions about which types of service providers are doing a better or worse job in serving the state?s residents."