Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. Service Provision

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 than the control group (see Table 4). 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.

The most common subject of counseling, interaction with children and in particular their discipline, reflects central problems in these families, problems of paramount concern to the child protective system. 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."

Insofar as there are differences between groups, it can be assumed that the experimental conditions held since the experimental group received substantially more services than the control group. As is to be expected in real life implementations of models, the programs did not adhere completely to the Homebuilders approach as described above. In addition to other critical elements of family preservation, the Homebuilders model specifies that workers should provide an in-home contact within 72 hours of referral, and family preservation workers should be available 7 days per week. Substantial contact should take place within the first week; the model's developers suggest that the typical case receive 11 hours of service in that time. Concrete services are also an important component of service, particularly early in the case. Based on caseworker reports, 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.

Table 4.
Summary of services, post-treatment interview
Caseworker Activities:
(Proportion of affirmative answers by caretakers to yes/no questions)
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
   C
%
E
%
p C
%
E
%
p C
%
E
%
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
  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

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.


Table 4.
Summary of services, post-treatment interview (continued)
Services Provided:
(Proportion of affirmative answers by caretakers to yes/no questions)
  Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
  C
%
E
%
p C
%
E
%
p C
%
E
%
p
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 classes 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
  C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p C
Mean
E
Mean
p
Caseworker report of # 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.