Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 3.6 Family and Child Functioning-Caretaker Interviews

09/01/2002

Family preservation services are intended to result in improved functioning of children and families. This goal is sought both for its own intrinsic value as well as an intermediate objective in the prevention of subsequent maltreatment and placement; parents who are functioning better and better parent-child relationships should result in lower risk of abuse or neglect.

In our interviews with caretakers and caseworkers we asked a number of questions tapping various aspects of functioning. We asked most of these questions in all three interviews with caretakers (at the beginning of service, four to six weeks after service began, and one year after the beginning of service) and in the two interviews with caseworkers (at the beginning of service and four to six weeks later). In the initial interview, we usually asked respondents to answer in terms of circumstances in the last three months. In the post-treatment and followup interviews, we asked in terms of "since we last talked to you [at the time of the initial interview or the post-treatment interview]." To indicate the effects of family preservation services, we can compare the experimental and control groups on the responses to these questions in the second and third interviews and on change between interviews. We report on the responses to a number of individual items in our interviews. In addition, we combined the responses to many questions into summated scales. (32) We examined differences between experimental and control groups in each state in the average levels of these scales at post-treatment and at followup and we examined changes over time in these averages using multivariate repeated measures analysis. (33) The results of the analyses of the scales are shown in Tables 3-3, 3-4, and 3-5 and in Figure 3-4. (34)

Table 3-3
Kentucky Family and Child Functioning Scales
  Post-Treatment followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
  Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
N Ma pb N M p N Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.
laterf
Post
v. Followg
Initial v.
later
Post
v. Follow
Positive life events C 146 .12   119 .22   108 .16 .12 .21 .42 .001 .41   .001    
E 148 .14   130 .21   117 .18 .14 .20              
Negative life events C 146 .04   119 .07   108 .08 .03 .07 .40 .001 .27 .001 .001    
E 148 .03   130 .09   117 .10 .03 .09              
Life events depression C 145 .35   119 .37   107 .45 .36 .38 .40 .001 .38 .001      
E 147 .36   130 .40   117 .50 .37 .42              
Economic functioning C 142 .17   118 .17   105 .22 .15 .18 .08 .001 .27 .001      
E 144 .22   127 .20   111 .32 .23 .20              
Punishment C 143 .16   113 .15   101 .22 .17 .15 .49 .001 .36 .001 .09    
E 147 .17   121 .15   109 .25 .18 .15              
Child aggression C 146 1.36   119 1.24   108 1.56 1.44 1.29 .84 .001 .96 .001 .05    
E 148 1.33   130 1.29   117 1.57 1.44 1.32              
School problems C 112 .22   96 .25   78 .29 .24 .27 .14 .03 .41 .01      
E 101 .20   97 .19   77 .26 .21 .18              
Child withdrawn C 146 .89   119 .99   108 1.08 .89 1.00 .99 .001 .29 .001      
E 148 .93   130 .93   117 1.08 .97 .93              
Stolen things or arrested C 146 .34   119 .39   108 .31 .34 .39 .76 .75 .07     .03  
E 148 .32   130 .31   117 .44 .35 .32              
Child substance abuse C 146 .07   119 .03   108 .05 .07 .04 .40 .35 .67        
E 148 .04   130 .02   117 .03 .03 .03              
Child problems C 146 2.20   119 1.89   108 2.44 2.23 2.18 .87 .001 .47 .001      
E 148 2.05   130 2.04   117 2.56 2.14 2.07              
Negative child behaviors C 140 .34   107 .33   98 .37 .34 .34 .95 .001 .47 .001      
E 139 .34   120 .34   106 .39 .34 .33              
Positive child behaviors C 142 .71   109 .67   99 .70 .69 .67 .78 .31 .84        
E 142 .71   121 .68   109 .69 .69 .67              
Household condition C 142 .02   119 .02   102 .05 .02 .02 .29 .002 .45 .001      
E 147 .02   129 .01   111 .03 .01 .01              
Depression (SCL-90) C 145 .79   119 .67   107 .95 .77 .70 .67 .001 .31 .001      
E 146 .74   130 .79   115 .96 .74 .83              
Positive child care practices C 140 .85   107 .82   94 .87 .85 .83 .55 .09 .97 .06      
E 143 .82   116 .81   103 .85 .84 .81              
Negative child care practices C 141 .14   109 .12   97 .17 .15 .12 .57 .001 .22 .001 .05    
E 144 .13   117 .13   104 .20 .14 .13              
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three
Table 3-4
New Jersey Family and Child Functioning Scales
    Post-Treatment followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.
laterf
Post
v. Followg
Initial v.
later
Post
v.
Follow
Positive life events C 133 .15   107 .23   83 .19 .16 .25 .05 .001 .99   .001    
E 210 .13   166 .21   129 .17 .13 .22              
Negative life events C 133 .04   107 .09   83 .13 .04 .10 .46 .001 .49 .001 .001    
E 210 .05   166 .11   129 .11 .04 .09              
Life events depression C 133 .42   106 .47   83 .48 .38 .44 .93 .001 .33 .001      
E 210 .39   165 .42   128 .52 .39 .41              
Economic functioning C 132 .34 .02 107 .36   83 .39 .33 .33 .07 .06 .31 .06      
E 209 .25   167 .31   129 .29 .24 .30              
Punishment C 131 .25 .04 105 .21   80 .31 .25 .22 .03 .001 .93 .001 .03    
E 209 .20   167 .18   129 .27 .20 .17              
Child aggression C 134 1.68 .09 107 1.38   84 1.89 1.77 1.37 .05 .001 .26 .001 .001    
E 210 1.48   167 1.32   130 1.62 1.44 1.28              
School problems C 118 .22   96 .34   69 .36 .26 .36 .009 .001 .84 .01 .003    
E 197 .20   157 .28   121 .29 .19 .26              
Child withdrawn C 134 .40   107 .41   84 .62 .42 .37 .38 .001 .51 .001      
E 210 .40   167 .38   130 .50 .41 .33              
Stolen things or arrested C 134 .37   107 .42   84 .58 .35 .44 .60 .001 .99 .001 .05    
E 210 .29   167 .48   130 .55 .31 .41              
Child substance abuse C 134 .16   107 .20   84 .26 .13 .18 .94 .01 .71 .02 .10    
E 210 .17   167 .27   130 .23 .14 .22              
Child problems C 134 2.64   107 2.88   84 3.00 2.70 2.99 .57 .001 .45 .003 .09    
E 210 2.64   167 2.83   130 3.03 2.62 2.73              
Negative child behaviors C 130 .33 .04 105 .34   81 .41 .34 .35 .005 .001 .84 .001 .001    
E 207 .28   163 .32   126 .35 .28 .30              
Positive child behaviors C 132 .74   106 .75   83 .73 .75 .77 .63 .01 .69 .02 .02    
E 208 .73   163 .76   128 .72 .73 .77              
Household condition C 134 .06   107 .04   84 .06 .06 .03 .78 .05 .38 .04      
E 210 .05   167 .05   129 .06 .05 .04              
Depression (SCL-90) C 134 1.00 .08 105 .85   83 1.01 .84 .82 .92 .001 .71 .001      
E 209 .83   166 .82   127 1.04 .89 .77              
Positive child care practices C 128 .76   103 .76   77 .79 .77 .77 .43 .11 .67 .06      
E 206 .77   163 .80   124 .82 .78 .79              
Negative child care practices C 129 .18 .02 101 .14   76 .21 .18 .14 .07 .001 .34 .001 .06    
E 207 .14   162 .13   124 .19 .13 .13              

a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three

Table 3-5
Tennessee Family And Child Functioning Scales
    Post-Treatment followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.
laterf
Post
v. Followg
Initial v.
later
Post
v. Follow
Positive life events C 37 .14   36 .31   28 .20 .15 .32 .53 .001 .76   .001    
E 80 .18   74 .31   61 .24 .19 .31              
Negative life events C 37 .05   36 .14   28 .14 .06 .15 .13 .001 .77 .10 .001    
E 80 .05   74 .11   61 .10 .04 .12              
Life events depression C 31 .36   36 .35   28 .49 .40 .34 .85 .001 .66 .001      
E 80 .34   74 .34   61 .50 .35 .34
Economic functioning C 37 .25   36 .33   28 .43 .25 .31 .06 .001 .86 .001      
E 80 .18   73 .22   59 .31 .16 .19
Punishment C 37 .13   36 .10   28 .21 .12 .11 .45 .001 .11 .001 .09   .10
E 76 .13   71 .07   54 .28 .15 .08
Child aggression C 37 .81   36 .86   28 .89 .86 .86 .97 .11 .18 .09      
E 80 .86   74 .59   61 1.05 .93 .61
School problems C 32 .17   35 .20   22 .35 .25 .25 .11 .003 .65 .002      
E 65 .15 63 .18 46 .23 .15 .20
Child withdrawn C 37 .27   36 .28   28 .68 .25 .32 .94 .001 .10 .01      
E 80 .38 74 .23 61 .59 .41 .23
Stolen things or arrested C 37 .19   36 .47   28 .50 .25 .50 .27 .004 .66 .04 .007    
E 80 .19 74 .34 61 .43 .18 .31
Child substance abuse C 37 .03   36 .03   28 .00 .04 .04 .44 .97 .31        
E 80 .03 74 .04 61 .08 .03 .05
Child problems C 37 2.08   36 2.03   28 2.39 2.14 2.04 .49 .02 .70 .005      
E 80 1.72 74 1.70 61 2.33 1.84 1.80
Negative child behaviors C 34 .21   35 .22   26 .33 .23 .23 .52 .001 .81 .001      
E 72 .21 71 .19 55 .30 .22 .20
Positive child behaviors C 34 .81   36 .90 .07 26 .83 .80 .90 .69 .03 .26   .01    
E 72 .83 70 .86 54 .81 .83 .85
Household condition C 36 .07   34 .10   25 .13 .08 .14 .09 .28 .38        
E 78 .06 71 .06 58 .09 .07 .06
Depression (SCL-90) C 37 .76   36 .83   28 1.00 .81 .72 .89 .008 .64 .002      
Positive child care practices E 80 .70 74 .73 61 1.03 .71 .73    
C 36 .82   34 .96   24 .90 .89 .94 .70 .05 .71   .01    
E 71 .88 67 .93 48 .90 .86 .95    
Negative child care practices C 35 .09   33 .07   25 .11 .09 .08 .38 .001 .09 .001   .03  
E 72 .09 66 .06 50 .18 .09 .07
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that the average initial score is equal to the average of post-treatment and final scores
g Test of hypothesis that average post-treatment score is equal to the average final score

Figure 3-4 Child and Family Functioning over TimeFigure 3-4, continued  Child and Family Functioning over Time

Figure 3-4, continued  Child and Family Functioning over TimeFigure 3-4, continued  Child and Family Functioning over Time

Figure 3-4, continued  Child and Family Functioning over TimeFigure 3-4, continued  Child and Family Functioning over Time

We report on the differences between the experimental and control groups as they were initially formed (the "primary analysis"). Results of the secondary analyses (dropping violations and minimal service cases) were usually similar. They are reported in footnotes when they were materially different.

We looked at a large number of differences between groups on functioning variables and as will be seen, some of these comparisons revealed statistically significant differences, usually favoring the experimental group. However, as will also be seen, the differences are not consistent across states or across time.

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