Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 2.5 Lengths of Time from Random Assignment to the Interviews

01/08/2001

Table 2-7 shows lengths of time between random assignment and each interview--initial, post-treatment, and follow-up--as well as the length of time between the initial and post-treatment interviews.

Kentucky. For the 311 initial interviews with caretakers, the length of time from random assignment to completion ranged from 1 to 50 days with an average of 12.6 days (s.d. = 8.1 days, 75% within 16 days, 90% within 23 days). For the 280 caseworker initial interviews, the length of time from random assignment to interview completion ranged from 3 days to 75 days with an average time of 17.6 days (s.d. = 9.36 days, 75% within 23 days, 90% within 28 days).

At post-treatment, 294 caretakers were interviewed, and the length of time from random assignment to interview completion ranged from 24 days to 111 days with an average of 44.8 days (s.d. = 10.5 days, 75% within 49 days, 90% within 58 days). Three hundred twenty-six caseworker interviews were completed in an average of 51 days (s.d. = 14.3 days) after random assignment, with a completion time ranging from 10 days to 142 days (75% within 55 days, 90% within 68 days). For 3 of the cases where services were terminated early (10, 14, and 17 days after random assignment), post-treatment interviews were completed at the time of termination, thus the minimum of 10 days.

With a goal of completing initial interviews within two weeks of the referral date, the intent was to capture each family’s situation at the inception of family preservation or regular services. However, initial interviews with caretakers took an average of over 12 days to complete and initial interviews with caseworkers took an average of over 2 weeks to complete. No significant differences were found between control and treatment groups with regard to the time from random assignment to completion of any of the interviews.

As already noted, the first interview was to be conducted within two weeks of the referral and the second interview was to be conducted at the end of service provision or a comparable time. Therefore, it is expected that for those cases where both interviews were completed, approximately four weeks should have passed between the dates of the first and second interviews. Two hundred and eighty-seven caretakers completed both the first and second interviews, and the average length of time between these interviews was 32.3 days (s.d. = 10.3 days, 75% within 37 days between interviews, 90% within 45 days between interviews). For the 274 caseworkers who completed both interviews, the average length of time between these interviews was 33.2 days (s.d. = 13.3 days, 75% within 38 days between interviews, 90% within 49 days between interviews).6

 

Table 2-7.
Timing To and Between Completion of Interviews
Number of days from random assignment to completion of initial interviews
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p
Caretaker 155 13.3 156 11.9   128 15.5 197 15.2   37 17.0 80 14.8  
Caseworker 144 17.6 136 17.6   137 16.0 251 15.4   46 11.8 66 16.5 .0004
Number of days from random assignment to completion of post-treatment interviews
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p
Caretaker 146 5.0 148 44.6   134 53.7 210 51.2 .06 37 51.9 80 47.9 .05
Caseworker 161 50.9 165 51.3   162 58.7 72 54.4 .003 48 47.8 90 59.7 .0001
Number of days between initial and post-treatment interviews
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
  Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p
Caretaker 142 31.6 145 33.1   117 38.4 175 36.5   33 35.4 75 32.8  
Caseworker 139 32.4 135 34.0   134 1.6 250 38.9 .10 46 35.7 66 42.3 .03
Number of days from random assignment to completion of follow-up interviews
  Kentucky Jersey Tennessee
Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p N Mean N Mean p
Caretaker 102 379.3 117 380.5   85 383.8 133 383.3   32 385.8 63 385.4  

Follow-up interviews were completed by 219 caretakers an average of 379.9 days after random assignment (s.d. = 14.9, 75% within 387 days, 90% within 401 days). The difference between experimental and control groups with respect to the length of time between random assignment and follow-up interviews was not significant.

New Jersey. On average, the 325 initial interviews with caretakers were completed 15.3 days (s.d. = 8.5 days) following random assignment (for three cases we do not have the date of the interview). The range in time to completion was 1 to 50 days (75% were completed in 20 days, 90% in 27 days). As in Kentucky, it is not possible to consider the first interview as representing the situation at the inception of family preservation or regular services. In the case of the family preservation cases, these interviews were conducted, on average, two weeks into a four-week intervention. For the 388 caseworker initial interviews, the mean time to completion was 15.6 days (s.d. = 8.1) with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 40 (75% within 21 days, 90% within 28 days).

For the 344 caretaker post-treatment interviews, the average length of time between random assignment and interview was 52.1 days (about 7 and a half weeks, s.d. = 11.8 days) with a minimum of 33 and a maximum of 116 days (75% within 58 days, 90% within 68 days). For 434 caseworker post-treatment interviews the average was 56.0 days (s.d. = 14.7) with a minimum of 13 and a maximum of 115 (75% within 63 days, 90% within 75 days, interviews on cases that terminated early were sometimes conducted before the end of the 28 day service period, hence the minimum of 13). There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups in the average lengths of time to interview except for the caseworker post-treatment interview. For the control group, this interview was conducted an average of 58.7 days after random assignment while the average for the experimental group was 54.4 days (p = .003).7

Both caretaker interviews were completed in 292 cases, with an average of 37.3 days between interviews (s.d. = 11.2, 75% with not more than 43 days between interviews, 90% not more than 49 days). Three hundred eighty-four caseworkers completed both interviews with an average of 39.8 days between interviews (s.d. = 15.0).8

Follow-up interviews were completed by 218 caretakers an average of 383.5 days after random assignment (s.d. = 25.1, 75% within 389 days, 90% within 399 days). The difference between experimental and control groups with respect to the length of time between random assignment and the follow-up interviews was not significant.

Tennessee. On average, the 117 initial interviews with caretakers were completed approximately 15.4 days (s.d. = 7.0 days) after random assignment. The length of time to completion for these interviews ranged from 2 days to 36 days (75% were completed in 20 days, 90% in 26 days). Similar to both the Kentucky and New Jersey caretaker interviews, these interviews were conducted, on average, two weeks into a four-week intervention. Therefore, the first interview should not be considered representative of the family’s situation at the inception of family preservation or regular services. The 112 initial caseworker interviews were completed an average of 14.5 days (s.d. 7.2 days) after random assignment, with a range of 3 to 34 days (75% completed within 18 days, 90% completed within 23 days). The length of time from random assignment to completion of the initial interview with caseworkers was significantly shorter for the control group than for the experimental group (11.8 days vs. 16.5 days, p = .0004).

The length of time between random assignment and the post-treatment interview was significantly different for experimental and control groups on both the caretaker and the caseworker interviews. Therefore, these timeframes are reported separately for each group. The 80 post-treatment interviews with caretakers in the experimental group were completed an average of 47.9 days (s.d. = 10.3 days) after random assignment, while the 37 post-treatment interviews with control group caretakers were completed an average of 51.9 days (s.d. = 10.6 days) after random assignment (= .05). This time period ranged from 32 days to 80 days for the experimental group (75% in 54 days, 90% in 64 days) and from 29 days to 70 days for the control group (75% in 61 days, 90% in 67 days). For the caseworker interviews, the 90 post-treatment interviews in the experimental group were completed an average of 59.7 days (s.d. = 18.5 days) after random assignment, whereas the 48 post-treatment interviews in the control group were completed an average of 47.8 days (s.d. = 9.7 days) after random assignment (p = .0001). The length of time from random assignment to the initial caseworker interview ranged from 37 to 135 days (75% within 68 days, 90% within 83 days) for the experimental group, and from 36 days to 91 days (75% within 48 days and 90% within 61 days) for the control group.

One hundred and eight caretakers completed both the initial and post-treatment interviews, with an average of 33.6 days between the interviews (s.d. = 10.1 days, 75% with not more than 41 days between interviews, 90% with not more than 47 days). For the 112 caseworkers completing both the initial and post-treatment interviews, there was a significant difference between the experimental and control groups in length of time between interviews (p = .03). Forty-six caseworkers in the control group completed both interviews with an average of 35.7 days between the interviews (s.d. = 12.3, 75% with no more than 38 days between, 90% with no more than 55 days). Sixty-six caseworkers in the experimental group completed both interviews with an average of 42.3 days between the interviews (s.d. = 17.5, 75% with not more than 49 days between, 90% with not more than 60 days between).

Follow-up interviews were completed by 95 caretakers an average of 385.5 days after random assignment (s.d. = 25.9, 75% within 394 days, 90% within 404 days). The difference between experimental and control groups with respect to the length of time between random assignment and the follow-up interviews was not significant.


6 One case in the experimental group was a turnback where the second interview was conducted with the public agency worker and the first interview was conducted with the FPS worker 20 days after the second interview had already been conducted. For this case and four others where there were less than 10 days between the two caseworker interviews, computed scores measuring the change between initial and post-treatment interviews were dropped from the caseworker data.

7 The difference in times to interview for the caretaker post-treatment interviews was nearly significant: experimental group, 51.2 days vs. 53.7 days for the control group, p = 0.056.

8 Two cases in the experimental group were closed by the time the worker was contacted for the initial interview, so both caseworker interviews were conducted on the same day. In all, 9 sets of initial and post-treatment interviews (3 caretaker and 6 caseworker) were conducted with less than 10 days between completion dates. For these cases, computed scores measuring the change between initial and post-treatment were dropped from the caseworker data.