Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 7.7 Summary of Services

01/08/2001

In all three states, the caretaker interview, the caseworker interview, and the contacts data generally confirmed the expectation that the experimental group would receive more services and more intensive services that the control group. An exception is the caretaker reports of services received in Tennessee. Table 7-8 shows a summary of those items on which there were significant differences between experimental and control groups on the primary analyses in any state.

In all three states, the number of experimental group caseworker activities reported by caretakers was greater than that reported by control group respondents, and this was also true of "helpful"; caseworker activities. As for specific caseworker activities, experimental group workers in all three states were more likely to provide transportation, talk about discipline, and talk about how to handle anger. In all three states, the number of specific services received by experimental group families was greater than the number received by control group families. Contact from data confirmed that there was far more contact with experimental group families. The most common concrete service reported on contact forms was transportation; the most common topics of discussion were discipline of children, goals, and caretaker’s interaction with children.

It is of interest that transportation is a theme in a number of sources of information about services. We do not have information on where workers were transporting parents and children, but it is evident that needs for transportation are common in these families, needs that workers are able to respond to. This is a concrete service that provides immediate help and builds relationships. Furthermore, workers told us that they often use the time in the car to good advantage in discussing problems of the family.

The most common subject of counseling, interaction with children and in particular their discipline, reflect central problems in these families, problems of paramount concern to the child protective system. It is, therefore, not surprising that workers were focused on altering parent-child interaction patterns.

Experimental group caseworkers in all three states were more often reported to have talked about difficult issues, to have helped the caretaker to see her/his good qualities and problems, and to have "understood your situation.";

Table 7-8.
Summary of services, post-treatment interview

Caseworker Activities:

Proportion of affirmative answers by caretakers to yes/no questions

  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
C E   C E   C E  
% % p % % p % % p
Is Caseworker still working with family 79 64 0.006 75 31 0.001 57 34 0.02
Caseworker helped with money for rent, electricity, phone 3 17 0.001 5 4   5 10  
Caseworker helped with money for other things 9 35 0.001 10 14   11 19  
Caseworker provided transportation 16 42 0.001 12 25 0.003 19 34 0.10
Caseworker discussed proper feeding of child 14 20   5 11 0.06 16 28  
Caseworker talked with you about discipline 35 55 0.001 39 60 0.001 46 70 0.01
Caseworker talked with you on relationship with spouse 16 18   8 14 0.09 11 34 0.01
Caseworker talked with you about how to handle anger 28 43 0.005 29 53 0.001 42 70 0.004
Caseworker told you about other agencies 38 43   42 56 0.01 19 33  
Caseworker advised on job training programs 9 19 0.009 7 10   8 16  
Caseworker talked about how to get paying job 6 17 0.004 5 8   11 18  
Caseworker advised on how to continue school 9 18 0.04 5 8   14 23  
Caseworker talked about uneasy issues 27 34   29 44 0.008 22 51 0.003
Caseworker helped you see good qualities 67 79 0.03 47 70 0.001 53 82 0.001
Caseworker helped you see your problem 66 76 0.10 52 72 0.001 50 82 0.001
Caseworker understood your situation 75 90 0.002 62 79 0.001 64 79 0.08
Called your Caseworker with problems 53 57   66 61   56 65  
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p
CT report of # of Caseworker activities 2.18 3.90 0.0001 2.31 3.25 0.001 2.89 4.60 0.02
CT report of # of "helpful"; Caseworker activities 1.04 1.68 0.0001 1.11 1.97 0.0001 0.83 1.33 0.04

Services Provided

Proportion of affirmative answers by caretakers to yes/no questions

Anyone been in job training program 3 8 0.09 2 3   3 4  
Anyone been in WIC 32 45 0.02 22 20   51 41  
Been in a marriage counseling program 0 7 0.006 2 2   0 1  
Anyone receive daycare 5 19 0.001 10 7   26 26  
Anyone receive transportation 7 16 0.02 14 12   17 19  
Anyone receiving parent education/training 13 19   6 10   20 8 0.06
Anyone receive counseling 35 52 0.003 50 56   9 17  
Anyone receive help finding a place to live 1 4   5 2   17 5 0.04
Anyone stay at an emergency shelter 1 1   2 1   6 0 0.03
Anyone receive medical or dental care 8 15 0.07 36 42   34 16 0.03
Anyone receive homemaker services 1 3   6 3   14 3 0.02
Were any needed services not gotten 27 19   56 42 0.01 39 24 0.10
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p
Caseworker report of # services provided 3.16 4.99 0.001 2.31 3.17 0.001 1.58 3.19 0.0002

NOTE: C = Control Group, E = Experimental Group

This table only includes items with a primary p-value less than .05 in at least one of the states; p-values greater than .10 are not reported.

Items in bold indicate significant findings in favor of the experimental group whereas italicized items indicate significant findings in favor of the control group.


Insofar as there are differences between groups, we can be reasonably sure that the experimental conditions held. Conclusions regarding adherence to the Homebuilders model are less clear cut. Families did not always receive contact within 72 hours, fewer than expected contacts occurred in the first week of the program, and few contacts occurred on weekends. There was relatively little provision of concrete services early on. These results are not entirely surprising. Social programs are never implemented precisely as they are designed. Perhaps the test of a program conception is that it achieves desired outcomes even when it is not implemented exactly as intended.