Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System

Submitted for:
Department of Health and Human Services
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Submitted by:
Chapin Hall Center for Children

December 2001

This report is available on the Internet at:

How to Obtain a Printed Copy


Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Permanency:  A Balancing Act

  1. An Historical Review
    1. The Social History of Child Welfare
    2. Federal Legislation
  2. Current Status of Permanency and Reunification
  3. Programmatic Initiatives
    1. Tools to Expedite Reunification
    2. Special Reunification Programs
    3. System Reform
  4. Implications

3. Permanency and Reunification Trends in 25 States

  1. Introduction
  2. State-level Information and Trends
    1. Service Delivery
    2. Permanency
      1. Relative Placements
      2. Reunification
      3. Changes Prompted by ASFA
      4. State Initiatives
  3. Conclusions

4. The Evaluation of Programs for Permanency and Reunification

  1. Background
    1. The New Legislative Framework and Its Implementation
    2. Role of Research
  2. The Evaluation of Programs
    1. Program Dimensions
    2. Evaluation of Particular Program Components
    3. Evaluation of Programs With Specific Foci
  3. An Agenda for Research on Permanency and Reunification

5. Reunification from Foster Care in Nine States 1990-1997: Description and Interpretation

  1. Exits from Foster Care
    1. State Patterns of Exit From Foster Care
    2. Exit Destination by Child Characteristics
    3. Exit Destination by Case Characteristics
    4. Summary
  2. Timing of Foster Care Exits and Trends Over Time
    1. The Structure of Tracking Tables
    2. Substantive Highlights From Nine-State Table
      1. Substantive Highlights from Individual State Tables
    3. Cross-Sectional Picture of Exit Change: 1990 and 1994
  3. Multivariate Analysis of Foster Care Exits
    1. Reunification From Foster Care
      1. Family Exit Analysis
      2. Reunification During Different Periods in the Duration of a Spell
      3. Individual State Models of Reunification and Family Exits
  4. Reentry From Foster Care
    1. Reentry Counts and Rates by Type of Exit From Care
    2. Multivariate Models for Reentry after Reunification
  5. Adoption From Foster Care
  6. Summary of Administrative Data Analysis

6. The Role of Race in Parental Reunification

  1. Introduction
  2. Prior Research
  3. Research Methods
  4. Findings
  5. Discussion
  6. Research Implication
  7. Appendix - Coding of Study Variables

7. Casework Decision Making

  1. Introduction
  2. Caseworker Decision Making
  3. Implications

List of Tables

Chapter 3

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

List of Figures

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of this report, send or fax the title and your mailing information to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
200 Independence Av, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Fax: (202) 690-6562

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Last updated:  03/25/02