Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 8.5 Case Closing Subsequent to Random Assignment

01/08/2001

Family preservation services are sometimes thought to lead to quicker case closings in the public agency and less frequent subsequent involvement with the child welfare agency. Administrative data on case closings and subsequent case openings were examined to determine the effects of these services on case closings and subsequent reopenings.

Kentucky. Of the 183 cases that were open in the public agency at the time of the referral to family preservation services, 84 (46%) were closed some time after the referral and 99 (54%) remained open as of August 31, 1998 (the last date of observation for these analyses). Survival analyses were performed to examine the lengths of time between the referral to family preservation services and the first closing of the case. As shown in Figure 8-3, no significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups.

Figure 8-3. First Case Closing After Random Assignment

Figure 8-3_1. First Case Closing After Random AssignmentFigure 8-3_2. First Case Closing After Random AssignmentFigure 8-3_3. First Case Closing After Random Assignment

Of the 84 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services and closed some time after that referral, 3 cases were re-opened again before August 31, 1998. Two of these 3 cases were in the experimental group, one having been closed for 6 days and the other for over a year before the case was re-opened. The third case was a control group case and was closed for slightly over 3 months before being re-opened.

New Jersey. Of the 434 cases with administrative data, 219 (51%) were closed subsequent to the referral to family preservation services.Figure 8-3 shows the results of a survival analysis in which we examined the time to case closing for the 421 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services. There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the rate or timing of case closings after the referral date.

Of the 219 cases that were closed after the referral to family preservation services, 48 cases (22%) were reopened. There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the proportion of cases that were reopened (21% in the experimental group, 23% in the control group).

Tennessee. Of the 147 families with case opening and closing data, 111 were open in the public agency at the time of the referral to family preservation services. Of these 111 families, 96 (87%) were closed some time after the referral and 15 (14%) remained open as of August 31, 1999 (the last date of observation for these analyses). Survival analyses were performed to examine the lengths of time between the referral to family preservation services and the first closing of the case. As indicated by the survival curves in Figure 8-3, no significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups. Of the 96 cases that were open at the time of the referral to family preservation services and closed some time after that referral, 17 cases were re-opened again before August 31, 1999. There was a significant difference in the rate of reopening. Eight (12%) of the 66 experimental group cases that were closed subsequently reopened, compared with 9 (30%) of the 30 control group cases (p < .05).