Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 8.8.1 Caretaker Functioning

01/08/2001

Caseworkers were asked nine questions tapping various aspects of caretaker functioning on a five-point scale from 0 for not adequate to 4 for very adequate. Table 8-12 provides a list of these nine questions and a summary of the results from the initial and post-treatment interviews.

Table 8-12.
Caseworkers' assessments of caretakers' parental functioning
Kentucky
  Control Experimental p
N Mean N Mean
Initial:
Caretaker ability to provide food 130 2.68 114 2.96 0.02
Caretaker ability giving affection 132 2.63 125 2.82  
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 119 2.38 106 2.58  
Respond patiently to child's questions 122 2.16 110 2.44 0.06
Respond to child's emotional needs 137 2.15 122 2.35  
Provide learning opportunities 127 2.17 110 2.35  
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 130 1.68 116 1.88  
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 140 2.14 123 2.39 0.10
Attending to children's health needs 135 2.76 114 3.00 0.08
Caretaker functioning, 9 items, 
average of nonmissing items, higher = better
118 2.25 102 2.48 0.06
Post-treatment:
Caretaker ability to provide food 145 2.88 154 2.97  
Caretaker ability giving affection 147 2.82 157 2.81  
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 135 2.58 144 2.45  
Respond patiently to child's questions 138 2.43 148 2.34  
Respond to child's emotional needs 145 2.28 156 2.28  
Provide learning opportunities 144 2.38 154 2.42  
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 145 2.09 150 1.99  
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 152 2.50 158 2.59  
Attending to children's health needs 150 2.93 157 3.08  
Caretaker functioning, 9 items,
average of nonmissing items, higher=better
142 2.56 151 2.55  
New Jersey
Initial:
Caretaker ability to provide food 119 3.24 224 3.20  
Caretaker ability giving affection 120 2.88 229 2.62 0.03
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 118 2.42 219 2.32  
Respond patiently to child's questions 117 2.44 220 2.27  
Respond to child's emotional needs 118 2.37 228 2.23  
Provide learning opportunities 114 2.83 220 2.50 0.005
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 126 2.11 228 1.93  
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 130 2.80 238 2.71  
Attending to children's health needs 125 3.34 214 3.17  
Caretaker functioning, 9 items,
average of nonmissing items, higher = better
107 2.65 211 2.44 0.02
Post-treatment:
Caretaker ability to provide food 137 3.36 246 3.34  
Caretaker ability giving affection 141 2.93 256 2.70 0.04
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 130 2.55 247 2.42  
Respond patiently to child's questions 140 2.51 248 2.37  
Respond to child's emotional needs 149 2.43 258 2.37  
Provide learning opportunities 137 2.89 247 2.60 0.01
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 147 2.37 252 2.14 0.06
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 149 2.95 258 2.79  
Attending to children's health needs 148 3.35 252 3.25  
Caretaker functioning, 9 items, 
average of nonmissing items, higher=better
140 2.79 249 2.66 0.10
Tennessee
Initial:
Caretaker ability to provide food 38 2.79 53 3.11  
Caretaker ability giving affection 42 2.76 60 2.92  
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 34 2.23 52 2.77 0.01
Respond patiently to child's questions 32 2.22 53 2.57  
Respond to child's emotional needs 40 2.05 59 2.47 0.04
Provide learning opportunities 39 2.64 56 2.55  
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 36 2.33 57 2.01  
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 44 2.32 61 2.95 0.005
Attending to children's health needs 43 2.65 59 3.18 0.03
Caretaker functioning, 9 items,
average of nonmissing items, higher = better
30 2.53 51 2.60  
Post-treatment:
Caretaker ability to provide food 41 2.98 74 3.32 0.06
Caretaker ability giving affection 45 2.73 80 2.95  
Caretaker respect for child's opinions 40 2.35 74 2.84 0.01
Respond patiently to child's questions 38 2.26 76 2.67 0.04
Respond to child's emotional needs 42 2.26 81 2.59 0.06
Provide learning opportunities 44 2.64 78 2.64  
Setting firm/consistent limits/rules 43 2.04 79 2.38  
Adequate supervisor/responsible childcare 46 2.52 82 2.93 0.04
Attending to children's health needs 45 2.96 78 3.13  
Caretaker functioning, 9 items, 
average of nonmissing items, higher=better
42 2.51 77 2.82 0.04

Note: Scale for individual items: 0-4, where 0 = not adequate, 4 = very adequate


Kentucky. At the initial interview, significant or nearly significant differences were found on three items, with the experimental group scoring more adequate on average: ability to provide food (p = .02), responding patiently to child's questions (p = .06), and attending to children's health needs (p = .08). On a scale averaging the nine ratings for each case, the difference between means of the experimental and control groups approached significance, with the experimental group having a higher mean (p = .06). At post-treatment there were no significant differences in the primary analysis. However, in the secondary analysis, caretakers from the experimental group were rated higher (more adequate) than those from the control group with respect to whether they attended to the children's health needs (p = .04). As for the scale averaging the nine ratings, no differences were found between the experimental and control groups at post-treatment. Looking at change over time, on one item, respecting child's opinions, the ratings for the control group increased over time (.19 change), whereas the ratings for the experimental group decreased slightly over time (-.06 change), a difference that is significant (p = .05). The differences between groups in change on the overall scale averaging the nine ratings was not significant.

New Jersey. At the initial interview, on two items there were significant differences between the experimental and control groups, the control group scoring more adequate on average: caretaker's ability in giving affection (p = .03) and the caretaker's ability to provide learning opportunities (p = .005). On the scale averaging the nine ratings for each case, there was a significant difference between means of the experimental and control groups, the control group having a higher mean (p = .02). At post-treatment, the control group scored higher (more adequate functioning) on the same two items as before. On the scale of nine items the control group scored slightly higher, although the difference was nonsignificant. As to change over time, on one item ("respecting child's opinions"), the control group had, on average, more positive change than the experimental group. The difference in degree of change was significant at .05 (this result also held in the secondary analysis, p = .05). Differences between groups in change on the overall scale were not significant.

Tennessee. At the initial interview there were four items on which the groups were significantly different, the experimental group scoring higher on all four: caretaker respect for child's opinions (p = .01), response to child's emotional needs (p = .04), adequate supervision (p = .005), and attending to the child's health needs (p = .03). At post-treatment, five items had differences between groups significant at .06 or lower, all favoring the experimental group: caretaker ability to provide food, respect for child's opinions, response to child's emotional needs, adequate supervision, and respond patiently to child's questions. The average of all nine items was also significantly different for the groups. On one item, setting firm and consistent limits, there was a significant difference in the amount of change over time, the experimental group increased by an average of .31, while the control group declined by an average of .29 (p = .01). On the scale of nine items there was no significant difference between the groups in change over time.