Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 4.5.4 Information from Caseworkers on Functioning


In interpreting caseworker reports, it should be noted that while both SCOH and family preservation services were provided by private agency workers, it is likely that there are differences between these groups of caseworkers in the knowledge they have of the cases. It is expected that family preservation workers had much more intensive involvement with the families they worked with. Hence, interpretations of comparisons between responses of workers serving each of the groups must be made with caution.

Given the low response rate on caseworker initial interviews (35 percent for the control group and 54 percent for the experimental group), analysis of initial caseworker interview items was not conducted. This lack of data from the caseworker initial interview makes it difficult to interpret differences between the experimental and control groups at the time of the post-treatment interview. It is unknown whether those differences existed at the time of random assignment or whether they reflect differential changes during the treatment period.

Caretaker Functioning. Caseworkers were asked nine questions tapping various aspects of caretaker functioning on a five-point scale from 0 for not adequate to 4 for very adequate. Table 4-27 provides a list of these nine questions. At the time of the post-treatment interview, there were no significant differences between experimental and control group caseworkers on any of these nine items or on the scale averaging the nine items. (93)

Table 4-27
Philadelphia Caseworkers' Assessments of Caretakers' Parental Functioning,
Post-treatment Interview
  Control Experimental p
N Mean N Mean
Caretaker ability to provide food 89 2.90 145 3.05  
Caretaker ability giving affection 92 2.95 145 3.05  
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 83 2.59 131 2.80  
Respond patiently to child's questions 86 2.50 138 2.64  
Respond to child's emotional needs 89 2.56 144 2.69  
Provide learning opportunities 90 2.30 143 2.57 .07
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 89 2.19 140 2.45 .10
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 92 2.54 148 2.80 .10
Attending to children's health needs 89 2.90 144 3.03  
Caretaker functioning, 9 items, average of nonmissing items, higher=better 88 2.63 139 2.79  
Note: Scale for individual items: 0-4, where 0 = not adequate, 4 = very adequate

Household Condition. As in the caretaker interview, we asked caseworkers about conditions in the home. Caseworkers were asked 13 yes-no questions, some positive and some negative. These items were combined in a scale which indicated the proportion of household condition problems. At the time of the post-treatment interview, experimental group families had, on average, significantly fewer problems with household condition than did control group families (.13 vs. .16; p = .05). (94)

Caretaker Problems. Caseworkers were asked a number of questions about problems experienced by children, caretakers, or other adult household members (question 19 on the first caseworker interview, question 17 on the second caseworker interview). Twenty-one of these problems concerned the caretakers. At the time of the post-treatment interview, caseworkers reported that the caretakers had, on average, 26 percent of the 21 problems. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups. (95)

Child Problems. Twelve of the items on the caseworker problem inventory concerned the children. At the time of the post-treatment interview, the percentage of child problems for the experimental group was, on average, 19 percent compared to an average of 15 percent for the control group, a nonsignificant difference. (96)

View full report


"report2.pdf" (pdf, 978.24Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®