Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 4.2.1 Family Problems


Problems and strengths identified by Philadelphia caretakers are summarized in Table 4-2. Most (96%) respondents felt they were "doing a pretty good job raising [their] kids." Still, data from the time one interviews provides us with some sense of the difficulties these families faced as caretakers were asked whether or not they had experienced certain problems in the last month. With regard to emotional problems, 62 percent of the respondents reported feeling "blue or depressed," 53 percent reported feeling nervous or tense, 52 percent were overwhelmed by work or family responsibilities, 33 percent said they had just wanted to give up at some point in the last month, and 35 percent felt they had few or no friends.

With regard to financial difficulties, 56 percent responded that in the past month they did not feel they had enough money for food, rent, or clothing. In response to more specific

Table 4-2
Philadelphia Caretaker Problems and Strengths, Caretaker Initial Interview(% responding yes)
Problems Control Experimental p
Felt blue or depressed 58 65  
Felt nervous or tense 50 54  
Just wanted to give up 35 32  
Overwhelmed with work or family responsibility 48 55  
Felt you had few or no friends 35 35  
Not enough money for food, rent, or clothing 60 54  
Gotten in trouble with the law 0 3  
Had too much to drink in a week 7 3  
Used drugs several times a week 6 10  
Economic Items
Had difficulty paying rent 25 25  
Had difficulty paying electric/heat 38 35  
Had difficulty buying enough food 18 21  
Had difficulty buying clothes 40 40  
Positive Items
Have you felt happy 69 77  
Gotten together with anyone to have fun/relax 0 3  
Doing a pretty good job raising kids 95 97  

questions about difficulties paying bills in the past 3 months, 25 percent reported difficulty paying rent, 36 percent reported difficulty paying electric or heating bills, 20 percent difficulty buying food for the family, and 40 percent difficulty buying clothes for their children.

Although the Philadelphia program was intended to be focused on substance abuse, only five percent of respondents acknowledged having too much to drink several times a week, and 8 percent reported using drugs several times a week. When caretakers were asked whether a child or children they care for went through alcohol or drug withdrawal when born, 8 percent responded affirmatively. (57) Less than 2 percent of respondents indicated they had gotten in trouble with the law in the past month.

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