In this, our first report, we focused primarily on the first complete sequence. In future work, one could look at all sequences, which primarily entails looking at reentry cases and reabuse cases in greater detail. One could also explore adding other services beside casework and out-of-home care, e,g. various counseling, homemaker, family preservation and psychiatric hospitalization.
In addition to additional description of sequences, multivariate analysis should be undertaken to understand the factors that contribute to different outcomes. Such analyses would entail analyzing the characteristics of children, families and services that increase or decrease the probability of making a particular transition.
Small region analysis is necessary if one is to accurately understand the heterogeneity of the child welfare system. We commonly analyze the experiences of children in the child welfare system at the state level and incorrectly treat children as if they are all from the same geographic region. One could analyze the probability of making certain transitions in various types of communities. For example, is it more likely that a child will be substantiated for neglect in a community primarily consisting of unmarried, teenage mothers?