Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 3.5 Case Closing Subsequent to Random Assignment

09/01/2002

Family preservation services are sometimes thought to lead to quicker case closings in the public agency and less frequent subsequent involvement with the child welfare agency. Administrative data on case closings and subsequent case openings were examined to determine the effects of these services on case closings and subsequent reopenings.

Kentucky. Of the 255 cases that were open in the public agency at the time of the referral to family preservation services, 180 (71%) were closed some time after the referral and 75 (30%) remained open as of November 30, 1999 (the last date of observation for these analyses). Survival analyses were performed to examine the lengths of time between the referral to family preservation services and the first closing of the case. As shown in Figure 3-3, significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups.

Of the 180 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services and closed some time after that referral, 10 cases were re-opened again before November 30, 1999. Five of these 10 cases were in the experimental group, and five were in the control group.

Table 3-2
Subgroup Analyses, Significance Levels of Differences Between Experimental and Control Groups
Subgroup Kentucky New Jersey
Placement Substantiated allegations Placement Substantiated allegations
In 12 mos In 12 mos In 12 mos In 12 mos
N Overall
%
pa Survival
p
Overall
%
pa Survival
p
N Overall % pa Survival
p
Overall
%
pa Survival
p
Overall 345 25     23     442 27 .09b   11    
Substance abuse 37 29     29     53 26     20    
No substance abuse 244 23     19     326 28     12    
Problems with bills 157 26     25     195 27     13    
Problems with daycare 99 22     25     111 26     14    
Depressionc 152 26     24     168 33     11    
Problems with punishment 205 26     23     262 28     11    
Problems with school 145 23     22     202 31     11    
Problems with employment 193 24     22     192 26     14    
Single mother 129 21     19     116 26     17    
a Fisher exact, two tail
b Experimental group more likely to experience placement
c Caretakers with depression scores above median for the state
 

Figure 3-3
First Case Closing after Random Assignment (Families)

Figure 3-3, First Case Closing after Random Assignment(Families)(Kentucky)

Figure 3-3, First Case Closing after Random Assignment(Families)(New Jersey)

Figure 3-3, First Case Closing after Random Assignment(Families)(Tennessee)

New Jersey. Of the 441 cases with administrative case closing data, 427 were open at the time of random assignment. Of these 427 cases, 263 (62%) were closed subsequent to the referral to family preservation services. Figure 3-3 shows the results of a survival analysis in which we examined the time to case closing for the 421 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services. There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the rate or timing of case closings after the referral date. Of the 263 cases that were closed after the referral to family preservation services, 81 cases (31%) were reopened. There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the proportion of cases that were reopened (32% in the experimental group, 29% in the control group).

Tennessee. Of the 147 families with case opening and closing data, 111 were open in the public agency at the time of the referral to family preservation services. Of these 111 families, 96 (87%) were closed some time after the referral and 15 (14%) remained open as of August 31, 1999 (the last date of observation for these analyses). Survival analyses were performed to examine the lengths of time between the referral to family preservation services and the first closing of the case. As indicated by the survival curves in Figure 3-3, no significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups. Of the 96 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services and closed some time after that referral, 17 cases were re-opened again before August 31, 1999. There was a significant difference in the rate of reopening. Eight (12%) of the 66 experimental group cases that were closed subsequently reopened, compared with 9 (30%) of the 30 control group cases (p < .05).

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