Evaluation of the New York City Home Rebuilders Demonstration. 3.1.1 Case Characteristics

09/14/1998

Sex. Overall, 51 percent of the children were female. There were some differences in sex distributions among agency groups as indicated in Table 3-2.

Table 3-2.  Gender by agency and experimental group (percents)

HD LF MM OTT JC NYF Total
Sex C E C E C E C E E C E  
Female 52 50 50 48 45 42 50 46 52 48 50 51
Male 48 50 50 52 55 58 50 54 48 52 50 49
Total % 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Total N (178) (185) (274) (298) (188) (213) (203) (196) (481) (394) (377) (2987)

Ethnicity.  In 17 percent of the cases, the administrative data did not record the race of the child. Of the remainder, 74 percent were African American, 7 percent Puerto Rican, 14 percent other Hispanic, 2 percent white, and 2 percent other (Table 3-3). Again, there were small differences among agencies and experimental groups. As can be seen, the OTT comparison group and the NYF experimental group had somewhat more Puerto Rican and other Hispanic children (a combined total of 34% and 32% respectively) and somewhat fewer African American children (65% and 63%) than the other groups (it should be remembered that the groups in these agencies were not randomly assigned). In MM, there was also a bit of a difference, 11 percent of the experimental group and 21 percent of the control group were Puerto Rican or other Hispanic.

Table 3-3.  Ethnicity by agency and experimental group (percents)

  HD LF MM OTT JC NYF Total
Ethnicity C E C E C E C E E C E  
African American 80 75 74 77 78 86 65 77 75 70 63 74
Hispanic 18 18 19 19 21 11 34 16 22 22 32 22
Puerto Rican 5 6 6 4 8 6 10 5 7 9 12 8
Other Hispanic 13 12 13 15 13 5 24 11 15 13 20 14
White 1 2 4 1 1 3 1 5 1 4 3 2
Other 1 5 4 3 1 -- 1 1 1 3 3 2
Total % 100% 100% 101% 100% 101% 100% 101% 99% 99% 99% 101% 100%
Total N (148) (162) (239) (251) (158) (175) (170) (168) (368) (321) (318) (2478)

Note:  Due to rounding, percents may not all equal 100%

Age.  The median age of children at the time the experiment began on July 1, 1993 was 5. Seven percent were less than 1 year old, 19 percent were 1 or 2 years old, 28 percent were at least 3 but less than 6, 31 percent were between 6 and 11, and 14 percent were 11 or more (Table 3-4). Again, there were some differences across agencies. Children in OTT were generally younger than those in other agencies.

Table 3-4.  Age of children by agency and experimental group (percents)

  HD LF MM OTT JC NYF Total
Age C E C E C E C E E C E  
Less than 1 6 6 9 8 4 8 9 18 5 6 5 7
1-2 16 13 21 17 21 17 29 28 17 21 17 19
3-5 36 36 21 29 29 33 27 23 25 30 31 28
6-10 38 37 31 30 35 28 27 21 31 29 32 31
11 or more 4 8 18 16 11 14 9 10 22 15 15 14
Total % 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 101% 100% 99%
Total N (178) (185) (274) (298) (188) (213) (203) (196) (481) (394) (377) (2987)

Note:  Due to rounding, percentages may not always equal 100%.

Placement Histories.  The vast majority of children (88%) were in their first placements at the time the experiment began. There were no important differences among the agencies and experimental groups on this characteristic.

Length of Time in Placement.  At the time the experiment began, the length of time children had been in placement varied widely from 1 day to 11.6 years. The median length was 2.6 years, the mean 2.9 years. The interquartile range was from 1.2 to 4.3 years. There was some variation among agencies and groups (Table 3-5). Children in LF, JC, and OTT had been in care a shorter period of time than those in the other agencies. The differences between experimental and comparison groups are significant in LF, NYF, and OTT at the .03 level. In LF, MM, and OTT, the experimental group had been in care a shorter period of time than the comparison group, on average, while in NYF the comparison group had been in care a shorter period of time. The averages in HD were very close. The differences between experimental and control groups in LF and MM appeared despite random assignment of cases in those agencies.

As will be seen, length of time in care at the beginning of the experiment was related to outcomes of the experiment.

Table 3-5.  Years in placement at the beginning of the experiment by agency and experimental group

  HD LF MM OTT JC NYF
C E C E C E C E E C E
Mean years in placement at 6/30/93 3.099 3.132 2.166 1.843 3.083 2.888 2.274 1.843 1.916 3.274 3.611

Type of Placement. On July 1, 1993, 72 percent of the children were in nonrelative foster boarding homes, 24 percent were in "approved relative care," and the remainder in various forms of group homes. There were substantial differences among agency groups in these percentages (Table 3-6). LF and OTT had far fewer relative placements than other agencies while JC had far more.

Table 3-6.  Type of placement at the beginning of the experiment by agency and experimental group (percents)

  HD LF MM OTT JC NYF TOTAL
  C E C E C E C E E C E  
Foster Boarding Homes 73 70 89 87 68 67 90 86 51 70 61 72
Relatives 25 27 7 10 25 27 7 12 46 26 32 24
Other 2 3 4 3 6 6 2 2 4 4 7 4
Total % 100% 100% 100% 100% 99% 100% 99% 100% 101% 100% 100% 100%
Total N (177) (183) (271) (298) (186) (213) (203) (195) (478) (393) (377) (2974)

Note:  Due to rounding, percentages may not always equal 100%.

Permanency Goal.  The permanency goal on July 1, 1993 was return home for 65 percent of the children and adoption for 32 percent. The remaining children had goals of independent living, "other primary resource," or "placement prevention." Again, there were differences among the agencies (Table 3-7). LF and OTT had far fewer cases with the goal of adoption than other agencies.

Table 3-7.  Permanency goal at the beginning of the experiment by agency and experimental group (percents)

  HD LF MM OTT JC NYF Total
  C E C E C E C E E C E  
Return Home 48 50 90 88 64 69 85 92 47 48 54 65
Adoption 49 47 6 5 35 24 9 6 49 48 42 32
Other 3 3 4 6 1 7 6 2 3 3 4 4
Total % 100% 100% 100% 99% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99% 99% 100% 101%
Total N (178) (185) (273) (298) (187) (212) (202) (196) (479) (388) (376) (2974)

Note:  Due to rounding, percentages may not always equal 100%

Summary.  Children in the HomeRebuilders experiment were almost entirely African American or Hispanic. Over one-half were less than 6 years of age. Most were in their first placements in nonrelative foster homes and had been in placement a fairly long period of time, on average a little less than 3 years. The original intent of the experiment was to include only children for whom the goal was return to birth parents, but that requirement was relaxed and about one-third of the children had goals of adoption at the time they entered the project. On many of these characteristics, there was variation among agencies and between experimental and comparison groups within agencies. The differences among agencies in child characteristics suggest that the agencies were dealing with somewhat different populations of children. The differences between experimental and control groups in the true experimental agencies occurred in spite of random assignment.

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