Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 8.1.7 Preparation in Dealing with Casework Issues

09/01/2002

Workers were asked how prepared they felt to deal with 10 specific casework issues: assessing problems, assessing risk, case planning, assessing family functioning, assessing child functioning, family systems, building client relationships, counseling families, permanency planning, and knowing when to terminate a case. For each statement, workers were asked to indicate their agreement on a 5 point scale (1 = very well prepared, 5 = poorly prepared, 3 = midpoint). Within each of the states and groupings for type of staff, of all activities, preparation for permanency planning was thought to be worst - although, on average, all staff reported their preparation level as better than the mid-point of the scale. Within each state and type of staff (FPS or public), respondents thought themselves best prepared for "building client relationships." On average, Kentucky FPS staff reported being significantly better prepared than public agency staff on six of the ten casework issues (assessing problems, assessing child functioning, family systems, building client relationships, counseling families, and knowing when to terminate a case). In New Jersey, FPS staff reported being significantly better prepared than public agency staff on two of the ten casework issues (building client relationships and counseling families). In Tennessee, FPS staff reported being significantly better prepared than public agency staff on three of the ten casework issues (assessing family functioning, counseling families, and knowing when to terminate a case). On none of the items did public agency staff report feeling more prepared than FPS staff. When responses to all ten items were combined for an overall measure of how prepared workers felt, average scores were better than the mid-point of the scale, with FPS staff feeling significantly more prepared than public agency staff in Kentucky (2.1 vs. 1.6; p = .001) and marginally significant differences in Tennessee (1.7 for FPS staff and 2.0 for public agency staff; p = .06).

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