Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 4.2 The Philadelphia Families


Descriptive information about the Philadelphia families was gathered from the initial interviews with caretakers (n = 263) and is summarized in Table 4-1. Because families were randomly assigned, we would expect the families in the experimental and control groups to be similar at the time of random assignment, and for that reason, the sample is described as a whole. Differences between the two groups were examined and there were no characteristics on which the groups differed to a statistically significant degree.

The respondents were primarily women (95%). Most (91%) of the respondents were birth mothers, 5 percent were biological fathers, just under 3 percent were grandparents, and

Table 4-1
Description of the Philadelphia Families at Time of Initial Interviews
  N %
Gender of caretaker/respondent 263  
Male   5.3
Female   94.7
Race of caretaker/respondent 263  
African American (not Hispanic)   80.0
Caucasian (not Hispanic)   15.0
Hispanic   2.3
Other   1.9
Respondent's education level 263  
Elementary school or less   3.8
Some high school   61.0
High school graduate or obtained GED   18.7
College   11.0
Special education or vocational schooling   4.2
Respondent's marital status 263  
Married   9.5
Divorced   6.8
Separated   11.0
Widowed   3.0
Never married   69.0
Respondent's relationship to youngest child 263  
Birth mother   90.5
Biological father   4.6
Grandparent   2.7
Other relative   2.3
Household composition 263  
Birth mother, no other adults   49.8
Birth mother & 1 male adult   19.8
Birth mother & extended family*   18.6
Biological father*   4.6
Other relative caretaker*   4.6
Other**   2.7
  N Mean
Age of respondent 260 31.78
Age of youngest child 263 3.36
Age of oldest child 263 9.83
Number of kids 263 3.40
Number of adults 263 1.60
* These categories may also include other non-related adults in the home
**Includes: nonrelative caretaker, adoptive or step-parent, birth mother & non-related females, or birth mother, and more than one non-related male

just over 2 percent were other relatives. The racial composition of the respondents was mostly African American (not Hispanic), at 80 percent, with 15 percent Caucasian (not Hispanic), and the remainder Hispanic and other. The average age of the respondents was 32 (s.d. = 9.11). Just under 4 percent of the respondents had less than a high school level education, 61 percent had some high school, 19 percent had graduated from high school or obtained a GED, 11 percent had at least some college education, and 4 percent had special education or vocational schooling. Approximately 10 percent of the respondents indicated they were married, 7 percent divorced, 11 percent separated, 3 percent widowed, and 69 percent never married. Twenty-two percent reported that they were living with a spouse or partner. At the time of the first interview, 17 percent of the respondents indicated they were employed, 43 percent were unemployed and looking for work, and 40 percent were unemployed and not looking for work. Overall, 65 percent of the respondents rented their homes.

On average, these families were comprised of 1.6 adults and 3.4 children for an overall average family size of 5.0 persons. The average age of the youngest child in the family was 3.45 years (s.d. = 3.75), and the average age of the oldest child in the family was 9.8 years (s.d. = 4.47). Respondents were also asked to provide information regarding the relationship of other adults in the home relative to the youngest child in the home. This information was then used to determine household composition for these families. Approximately one half of the households were headed by a single birth mother, 20 percent had a birth mother residing with one male adult, 19 percent had a birth mother and extended family, 5 percent were headed by a biological father, and 5 percent were headed by another relative caretaker.

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