Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 4.3 Summary of Sample Description


Most of the respondents to the first interview were women and birth mothers of the youngest child in the home. Eighty percent of the respondents were African-American (not Hispanic) and 15 percent were Caucasian. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents had not graduated from high school, slightly more than two-thirds were never married, and over four-fifths were unemployed. About half of the households were headed by a single birth mother, and

Table 4-4
Philadelphia Participation in Social Programs Prior to Initial Interview
Program Percent
Food stamps 80.2
Job training 23.3
WIC 46.2
AFDC 70.1
Housing vouchers 7.3
Social security disability 25.2
Alcoholism program 5.7
Drug treatment program 14.5
Marriage counseling 0.8
Community mental health program 11.5
Head Start/pre-school 36.9

the average age of the respondents was just under 32 years. On average there were 1.6 adults and 3.4 children in the home, with the average age of the youngest child 3.4 years and the average age of the oldest child 9.8 years.

Over half of the respondents answered affirmatively to each of three questions about emotional difficulties: "feeling blue or depressed," "feeling nervous or tense," and "feeling overwhelmed with work or family responsibility." More than half of the respondents also indicated that they did not have enough money for food, rent, or clothing. Eleven percent said they had problems with alcohol or drugs, and just over one-third reported that they had been abused, neglected, or both as a child.

Ninety percent of the respondents indicated that they participated in at least one of 5 income support programs: AFDC, food stamps, WIC, Social Security disability, and housing vouchers. The rate of participation was less than 10 percent for alcoholism treatment, drug treatment, marriage counseling, and job training. About one-third of the respondents indicated participation in Head Start or another pre-school program.

Ninety-five percent of the families in the study had an investigation prior to their referral for family preservation services and 80 percent had at least one substantiated allegation. Seventeen percent of the families experienced placement of at least one child prior to the referral for family preservation services. With respect to sample characteristics, there were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups.

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