Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 6.3 Effects of Family Preservation on Levels of Support

09/01/2002

It is sometimes believed that family preservation programs may strengthen families' informal supports. To examine whether this occurred in the programs we studied, we used multivariate repeated measures analysis to assess the change in the levels of support that caretakers reported were available to them at each of the three interviews (at the beginning of service, four to six weeks after service began, and one year after the beginning of service). For each state, we examined change in the levels of total, emotional, instrumental, and informational support available to caretakers, and change in the levels of support available from family and friends. Table 6-3 summarizes differences between the experimental and control groups at the second and third interviews as well as change between interviews. In the repeated measures analysis, three main null hypotheses are tested. First, that support levels for the experimental group, averaged over the three points in time are equal to those of the control group. Second, that the averages of the groups at each point in time are the same. Third, that there is no interaction between time and group.

Of the three hypotheses, the last is central. A significant interaction between time and group indicates that support in the experimental and control groups changed in different ways. The levels of support that were available to caretakers could either increase or decrease over time in one or both groups, or increase in one and decline in the other group. Generally, we are interested in support increasing over time since more support is presumed to have positive effects on caretaker functioning and family well-being. Furthermore, larger increases in support in the experimental group would suggest that family preservation was helpful in this particular area of service.

By and large, there is not much evidence in any of the states that enhancing the availability of caretakers' informal supports was a strong effect of family preservation efforts. In Tennessee, the average levels of support that were available to caretakers did not change over time. The only significant difference between the control and experimental groups was the change in the level of support that was available from partners. Of caretakers who resided with partners, those in the control group reported that more support was available from their partners at followup than at post-treatment, whereas support from partners in the experimental group had actually decreased slightly over the same period (p = .02).

For New Jersey caretakers, there were no significant differences between the control and experimental groups in the overall average levels of support or in changes in average support from relatives and friends or across any type of support over time.

Relative to the those in the experimental group, caretakers in the Kentucky control group reported having more total, instrumental, and informational support available, and more support available from sisters. (101) However, the level of informational support available over time decreased in the control group and increased in the experimental group (p = .08) so that at the followup interview the level of informational support available to caretakers in the two groups

Table 6-3
Support from Partners, Parents, Siblings, and Friends
Tennessee
  Post-treatment Followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
  N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.
laterf
Post
v. Followg
Initial
v.
Later
Post
v.
Follow
Total C 39 42.9   36 40.6   28 44.1 47.9 42.2 .93 .38 .68        
E 84 41.5   74 43.4   61 44.4 45.1 43.6        
Emotional C 39 14.4   36 13.7   28 15.5 16.2 14.5 .92 .41 .89        
E 84 14.2   74 14.7   61 15.3 15.6 14.8        
Instrumental C 39 14.5   36 14.1   28 14.4 16.4 14.4 .59 .23 .47        
E 84 13.6   74 14.0   61 14.2 14.5 14.1        
Informational C 39 14.0   36 12.9   28 14.2 15.3 13.3 .70 .56 .70        
E 84 13.7   74 14.7   61 14.8 15.0 14.8        
Partner C 6 11.0   13 11.8 .005 4 11.5 10.5 12.0 .64 .84 .06       .02
E 28 10.9   26 9.9   15 10.7 11.2 10.1      
Mother C 25 8.8   24 9.2   17 9.1 9.5 9.9 .08 .32 1.0        
E 60 7.8   50 8.2   44 7.3 7.7 8.1        
Father C 23 4.0   20 3.3   16 3.6 4.1 3.3 .49 .40 .94        
E 44 4.2   38 4.5   30 4.3 4.9 4.5        
Sister C 31 13.7   31 10.7   23 12.7 14.9 12.6 .77 .43 .63        
E 53 13.2   50 12.6   40 12.2 12.9 13.0        
Brother C 29 8.6   28 8.1   21 11.1 10.4 10.1 .13 .90 .89        
E 57 7.1   56 8.6   40 7.6 7.5 7.9        
Friend C 32 19.4   25 18.6   17 19.1 23.0 19.3 .96 .34 .54        
E 70 20.4   66 19.1   46 21.0 21.5 19.1        
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three
New Jersey
  Post-treatment Followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
  N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.
laterf
Post
v.
Followg
Initial
v.
Later
Post
v.
Follow
Total C 141 34.3   107 35.5   84 36.3 37.1 36.9 .46 .64 .35        
E 221 32.9   167 36.0   130 35.2 33.0 35.7        
Emotional C 141 12.6   107 13.2   84 13.5 13.7 13.7 .58 .64 .51        
E 221 12.4   167 13.5   130 13.2 12.5 13.5        
Instrumental C 141 9.2   107 9.4   84 10.1 9.9 9.9 .26 .40 .64        
E 221 8.4   167 9.4   130 9.2 8.3 9.2        
Informational C 141 12.4   107 12.8   84 12.6 13.5 13.3 .65 .73 .24        
E 221 12.1   167 13.1   130 12.9 12.1 13.0        
Partner C 57 9.8   53 9.4   36 9.6 10.0 9.5 .69 .62 .66        
E 77 9.6   64 9.8   36 9.1 9.3 9.7        
Mother C 95 5.7   67 6.9   53 6.6 6.2 6.8 .23 .21 .51        
E 120 5.4   101 6.1   67 5.3 5.5 6.1        
Father C 69 4.2   49 4.1 .018 36 4.8 4.8 4.7 .67 .19 .12        
E 98 3.7   63 6.1   47 3.8 3.8 5.6        
Sister C 105 8.6   84 8.3   60 8.4 9.5 8.7 .64 .54 .73        
E 168 8.2   130 8.3   96 8.3 8.5 7.8        
Brother C 90 5.0   73 6.1   48 6.5 6.0 6.7 .76 .29 .95        
E 151 5.5   119 6.2   90 6.2 5.3 6.3        
Friend C 107 19.6   83 18.0   52 18.9 20.4 17.8 .47 .19 .20        
E 171 19.2   144 17.7   90 21.5 19.7 19.1        
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three
Kentucky
  Post-treatment Followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
  N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial
v. later
f
Post
v.
Followg
Initial
v.
Later
Post
v.
Follow
Total C 150 39.5   119 41.0   108 43.2 42.1 40.8 .05 .82 .16        
E 152 35.0   130 39.8   117 36.5 36.4 38.8        
Emotional C 150 14.8   119 15.0   108 15.8 15.6 14.8 .12 .97 .16        
E 152 13.4   130 14.8   117 13.8 14.0 14.6        
Instrumental C 150 10.6   119 11.4   108 12.1 11.5 11.3 .03 .37 .65        
E 152 9.0   130 10.3   117 9.9 9.4 9.9        
Informational C 150 14.1   119 14.7   108 15.2 15.0 14.6 .07 .51 .08        
E 152 12.6   130 14.7   117 12.8 13.0 14.4        
Partner C 50 9.1 .067 37 9.7   32 10.1 9.7 9.6 .16 .37 .43        
E 48 10.3   49 10.2   33 10.8 11.0 10.1        
Mother C 118 6.6   100 6.3   85 6.2 6.6 6.0 .56 .18 .22        
E 118 5.5   101 6.4   91 5.4 6.0 6.3        
Father C 86 4.2   66 3.9   61 4.0 4.4 3.7 .82 .71 .31        
E 94 3.5   83 4.2   71 3.7 3.7 4.1        
Sister C 110 9.6 .031 88 9.5   75 9.6 10.2 10.2 .04 .75 .57        
E 95 6.6   84 7.2   69 6.7 6.3 7.2        
Brother C 112 5.7   87 6.7   72 6.1 6.6 6.9 .36 .11 .39        
E 101 5.1   93 6.4   78 4.9 4.8 6.5        
Friend C 137 19.2   111 20.0   93 22.6 20.3 20.3 .32 .03 .44 .01      
E 139 19.5   121 20.5   99 20.6 19.4 20.2      
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three
Pennsylvania
  Post-treatment Followup Multivariate Repeated Measures
  N Ma pb N M p N Means Multivariate ps Univariate ps-Time Univariate ps-Grp-time interaction
Initial Post Follow Grpc Timed Time -Grpe Initial v.

laterf

Post

v. Followg

Initial v.

Later

Post

v. Follow

Total C 115 39.7   90 45.7   70 39.1 41.5 48.0 .23 .01 .79 .01 .01    
E 161 35.6   135 41.3   102 36.5 38.1 42.9    
Emotional C 115 14.4 .060 90 16.8   70 14.1 15.3 17.9 .09 .01 .57 .01 .01    
E 161 12.4   135 14.7   102 12.8 13.5 15.1    
Instrumental C 115 11.7   90 13.8   70 12.3 12.1 14.5 .74 .01 .82 .01 .01    
E 161 11.5   135 13.4   102 11.7 12.1 13.9    
Informational C 115 13.5 .063 90 15.1   70 12.7 14.1 15.6 .25 .01 .66 .01 .01    
E 161 11.6   135 13.3   102 12.0 12.5 13.9    
Partner C 23 10.7 .014 22 10.6   11 10.3 11.0 10.7 .50 .33 .87        
E 36 8.3   27 10.1   12 9.3 10.1 10.4        
Mother C 87 7.2   72 7.4   57 7.6 7.8 7.6 .94 .34 .56        
E 111 7.5   104 7.5   74 7.1 7.7 7.9        
Father C 63 4.4 .061 52 5.2   40 4.0 4.8 5.2 .20 .19 .23        
E 89 3.0   78 3.8   54 3.6 3.1 4.1        
Sister C 80 11.0   70 12.0   50 10.4 11.8 12.7 .06 .01 .83 .01      
E 116 9.6   107 10.6   78 7.1 9.0 10.4      
Brother C 91 10.0 .019 69 10.4   49 9.0 10.8 11.4 .01 .05 .48 .03      
E 104 6.2   97 7.6   74 5.3 5.4 7.0      
Friend C 91 17.8   76 20.1   42 20.9 18.0 23.9 .51 .02 .09   .01   .04
E 126 20.5   115 20.5   74 22.6 21.8 22.4  
a Means of control and experimental groups
b Test of hypothesis of equivalent group means
c Test of hypothesis that group means, averaged over time, are equal
d Test of hypothesis that means at three points in time, averaged over the groups, are equal
e Test of hypothesis of no interaction between group and time, that is, that the pattern of means over time is the same for both groups
f Test of hypothesis that time one is equal to average of time two and time three
g Test of hypothesis that time two is equal to time three

was essentially equal. The reported levels of friend support declined between the initial and later interviews (p = .01) in both the control and experimental groups.

Pennsylvania caretakers reported higher levels of total, emotional, instrumental, and informational support over time in both the control and experimental groups. With regard to relative and friend support, caretakers in the control group reported more sister and brother support, but the levels of sibling support increased over time in both groups. In addition, the availability of friend support increased over time in the control but not the experimental group (p = .04).

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