Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 4.5.2 Allegations of Maltreatment Following Random Assignment

09/01/2002

Two hundred sixty-eight children in 110 families (54%) in the experimental group were the subjects of investigated allegations of maltreatment following random assignment, compared with 161 children in 69 families (50%) in the control group. The difference was not statistically significant at the family level. The distribution of the various types of allegations is as follows: 43 percent physical abuse, 53 percent neglect, and 4 percent sexual maltreatment. One hundred twenty-three children in 60 families (29%) in the experimental group were the subjects of substantiated allegations of maltreatment compared with 67 children in 32 families (22%) in the control group. This difference was not statistically significant at the family level. The distribution of substantiated allegations is as follows: 53 percent physical abuse, 43 percent neglect, and 4 percent sexual maltreatment.

As with the analyses of subsequent placement, survival graphs were developed to compare the timing of subsequent substantiated allegations of maltreatment. (76) Again, survival analyses were conducted for both the primary and secondary analysis groups. Child level data were aggregated at the family level. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups. Figure 4-2 displays the survival curves for the primary analysis group. At one year, 20 percent of the experimental group and 13 percent of the control group families experienced substantiated reports of maltreatment subsequent to random assignment. At two years, 25 percent of the experimental group and 18 percent of the control group families experienced substantiated reports of maltreatment subsequent to random assignment. (77) The survival analyses indicate that experimental families did not experience fewer substantiated reports of maltreatment subsequent to random assignment.

Sub-group Analysis. We examined a number of subgroups of cases to determine whether we could detect differences between experimental and control groups on placement and substantiated allegations subsequent to random assignment within each subgroup. The results are shown in Table 4-19. Most of the subgroups were defined in terms of problems existing at the time of the initial interview. For both placement and substantiated allegations the table shows the number of cases in each subgroup, the percentage of cases in the subgroup experiencing the event within 6 months, the significance of the difference between the experimental and control groups in the occurrence of the event within six months, and the p value for the analysis of differences in survival curves. The first row of the table shows the results for the Philadelphia sample as a whole. Except for substance abuse, the definitions of the subgroups were determined from the initial caretaker interview. Very few caretakers acknowledged substance use in the first interview, so that subgroup was determined from information in both the caretaker and caseworker initial interviews.

As can be seen, nearly all of the experimental-control group comparisons shown are not significant. Of the 18 comparisons in the table, only one is significant at .05, that for

Figure 4-2
First Substantiated Allegation after Random Assignment (Families)

Figure 4-2 First Substantiated Allegation after RandomFigure 4-2 First Substantiated Allegation after Random

Table 4-19
Philadelphia Subgroup AnalysesSignificance Levels of Differences Between
Experimental and Control Groups
  Placement Substantiated allegations
In 6 mos In 6 mos
Subgroup N Overall
%
pa Survival
p
Overall
%
pa Survival
p
Overall 349 9.5     10.0   .098
Substance abuse 72 11.1     11.1    
No substance abuse 186 9.1 .076   8.6    
Problems with bills 151 11.9     10.6    
Problems with daycare 143 9.8     10.5    
Depressionc 139 12.9     8.6   .089
Problems with punishment 163 11.0     9.8    
Problems with school 98 13.3     6.1   .038b
Problems with employment 56 10.7     7.1    
Single mother 129 11.6     13.2    
a Fisher exact, two tail
b Experimental group more likely to experience subsequent allegation
c Caretakers with depression scores above median for the site

problems with school. Among those who identified a child having problems with school, those in the experimental group were more likely to have a substantiated allegation than those in the control group. In the analysis so far, efforts to find subgroups for which family preservation service was related to reduced placement have been unsuccessful.

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