Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 8.6.2 Problems

01/08/2001

In the second and third interviews, caretakers were again asked questions about problems in the family. These questions paralleled those asked in the first interview, except this time caretakers were asked to respond to questions with regard to the time "since we last spoke to you" (seeTables 8-6 and 8-7). We analyze each of these problem items separately. Kentucky. At the post-treatment interview, on 8 of the 9 problem questions, there were no differences between the experimental and control groups in responses. On the question of whether the caretaker felt overwhelmed with work or family responsibilities, a greater proportion of caretakers in the experimental group responded affirmatively at post-treatment than did caretakers in the control group (47% vs. 37%, p = .08).13 In addition to the items about problems, caretakers were asked three questions about positive aspects of their lives: "gotten together with anyone to have fun or relax," "felt happy," and "felt that considering everything you're doing a pretty good job raising your kids." The primary analysis revealed that 89% of caretakers in the experimental group responded that they "felt happy" since the last interview as compared to 82% of caretakers in the control group (p = .09). For both the experimental and control groups, 64% responded affirmatively to the question of "getting together with anyone to have fun or relax," and over 90% responded affirmatively that they were "doing a pretty good job raising [their] kids." There were no significant differences between experimental and control groups on these last two items in either the primary or secondary analyses.

At the follow-up interview, there were no significant differences between experimental and control groups on any of these items.

Table 8-6.
Caretaker problems & strengths, caretaker post-treatment interview
(% responding yes)
 

Kentucky

New Jersey

Tennessee

Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N % N % p N % N % p N % N % p

Problems

Felt blue or depressed 145 41 147 37   133 44 210 48   37 46 80 40  
Felt nervous or tense 145 46 147 46   131 49 210 44   37 41 80 40  
Just wanted to give up 145 17 147 15   133 26 210 20   35 29 79 23  
Overwhelmed with work or family responsibility 145 37 148 47 0.08 133 50 210 44   37 32 80 33  
Felt you had few or no friends 145 14 147 18   133 20 209 18   37 38 79 19 0.03
Not enough money for food, rent, or clothing 145 39 148 44   133 52 210 40 0.03 37 46 80 43  
Gotten in trouble with the law 144 3 147 3   133 2 210 1   37 3 80 0  
Had too much to drink in a week 145 2 148 1   133 2 209 2   37 5 80 3  
Used drugs several times a week 145 1 148 0   133 2 209 1   37 5 80 3  

Economic Items

Had difficulty paying rent 141 13 144 20   133 29 209 18 0.02 37 24 80 15  
Had difficulty paying electric/heat 142 20 144 28   132 30 209 26   37 27 80 21  
Had difficulty buying enough food 145 15 146 17   132 28 209 22   37 22 80 11  
Had difficulty buying clothes 145 17 146 21   132 47 208 33 0.01 37 27 80 24  

Positive Items

Have you felt happy 145 82 147 89 0.09 131 82 210 81   37 84 80 93  
Gotten together with anyone to have fun/relax 145 64 148 64   133 65 210 59   37 38 80 75 0.001
Doing a pretty good job raising kids 144 94 147 91   130 88 209 91   36 92 79 96  

 

Table 8-7.
Caretaker problems & strengths, caretaker follow-up interview

(% responding yes)
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
Control Experimental   Control Experimental   Control Experimental  
N % N % p N % N % p N % N %  p
Problems
Felt blue or depressed 119 44 130 42   107 55 166 48   36 44 74 47  
Felt nervous or tense 119 47 130 53   105 53 166 47   36 31 73 38  
Just wanted to give up 119 18 130 23   105 27 164 25   36 19 73 14  
Overwhelmed with work or family responsibility 119 39 130 42   105 51 165 50   36 44 74 36  
Felt you had few or no friends 119 24 130 25   107 15 166 24   36 8 74 19  
Not enough money for food, rent, or clothing 118 44 130 46   106 46 166 45   36 42 74 49  
Gotten in trouble with the law 119 6 130 4   107 1 166 4   36 3 74 3  
Had too much to drink in a week 119 3 130 3   106 0 166 2   36 3 74 7  
Used drugs several times a week 119 3 130 0   106 0 166 1   36 3 74 4  
Economic Items
Had difficulty paying rent 118 20 127 20   107 34 167 27   36 39 74 20 .04
Had difficulty paying electric/heat 118 19 126 25   107 36 167 37   36 42 74 32  
Had difficulty buying enough food 119 14 129 15   107 35 167 26   36 19 73 14  
Had difficulty buying clothes 119 15 128 19   107 42 167 35   36 31 73 21  
Positive Items
Have you felt happy 119 89 130 89   106 83 166 87   36 92 73 89  
Gotten together with anyone to have fun/relax 119 73 130 69   107 57 166 64   36 61 74 69  
Doing a pretty good job raising kids 112 91 123 93   104 90 166 92   36 92 74 96  

NOTE: "FE" indicates significance determined by Fisher's exact test


New Jersey. On 8 of the 9 problem questions, there were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups in responses at post-treatment. On the overall question about the economic condition of family, "have you felt you just didn't have enough money for food, rent, or clothing?" 52% of the control group said yes, compared to 40% of the experimental group significantly different at p = .03, although in the secondary analysis the difference was not significant.14 On none of the positive questions were there significant differences between groups in either the primary or secondary analyses.

At follow-up differences between groups approached significance for only one item, "felt you had few or no friends." More experimental group respondents replied affirmatively to this item (24% vs. 15% p = .07).

Tennessee. There was a significant difference between groups on only one of the nine problem questions at post-treatment. Fewer experimental group respondents reported they felt they had few or no friends (19% vs. 38%, p = .03). As to positive items, experimental group respondents far more often reported they "had gotten together with someone to have fun or relax" (75% vs. 38%, p < .001). At follow-up there were no differences between groups on any of these items.


(13)  This difference was slightly greater and statistically significant in the secondary analysis (48% vs. 35%, p= .04).

(14)  In the secondary analysis, fewer experimental group respondents reported health problems (12% vs. 21% for the control group, p = .04).